Now Playing: Bill Scorzari’s ‘The Crosswinds Of Kansas’ 

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Image courtesy of Bill Scorzari



Bill Scorzari is prepping for the release of a new album. It’s titled The Crosswinds Of Kansas and has a drop date of August 19th. But first, for those of you not yet familiar with the artist in question, a bit o’ background.

Bill Scorzari

Bill Scorzari
Bill Scorzari / Image courtesy of Jacob Blickenstaff

Bill Scorzari is a New York-based singer-songwriter and musician. According to his official website, “at a later age,” he chose to go “from being a New York trial lawyer” to a “full-time musician.” He began “songs again in 2008” inspired by “a Paste video session of Justin Townes Earle ‘Mama’s Eyes’.”

His rockin’ resume includes three previous platters including his debut disc Just the Same which dropped in 2014. He has performed live in numerous places such as AmericanaFest 2016, and the “Newport Folk Festival 2019 for the ‘For Pete’s Sake’ program curated by Chris Funk of The Decemberists.” He has shared stages with such other artists as “Billy Strings, Whiskey Myers, Big Country, Sarah Jarosz, Sam Outlaw, The Dustbowl Revival, Tall Tall Trees, Seldom Scene, Frank Fairfield, Tom Marion, Zak Sokolow, Jonah Tolchin, Jenni Lyn Gardner (Della Mae), Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, Twisted Pine, and many more.”

Signature Sound

Bill Scorzari’s signature sound is a mix of multiple music genres including Americana, folk, and, in this case, Navajo music. When asked about the inspiration he said: “More often than not, we won’t realize how much influence anything at all might have upon us if we don’t take the time to reflect back and consider such things often and in depth. Perhaps it’s just that there are always universal truths at play and so we get complacent and take them for granted, and then lose our ability to recognize and celebrate them when they recur.”

The Crosswinds Of Kansas

The Crosswinds Of Kansas is a 13-track album.  The songs are all original and written by Scorzari. He started writing a lot of these songs while on his Now I’m Free Tour in 2019.

The album also contains some of his “previously unreleased back catalog” but it’s important to note that why the older material “germinated in an earlier time, [Scorzari feels] they turned out to be a perfect fit for the mood and flow of the new songs” he wrote “during and after” the tour and through last year.  On this project, Scorzari leads the way on guitars and vocals. He is backed by an assortment of other artists including Michael Rinne (upright and electric bass), Danny Mitchell (Hammond B3 Organ and piano), Fats Kaplin (fiddle, pedal steel guitar, and viola), Juan Solorzano (baritone, slide and electric guitar), Brent Burke (dobro), Will Kimbrough (mandolin), Chelsea McGough (cello), Eamon McLoughlin (violin and fiddle), Matt Menefee and Kyle Tuttle (banjo), and Mia Rose Lynne (harmony vocals), and The Shoals Sisters: Marie Lewey and Cindy Richardson Walker (backing vocals). Co-producer Neilson Hubbard also contributes on drums and percussion, keyboard bass, wind chimes, triangle, “plastic hands”, and Native American drums and percussion.   

Track by Track

The album opens with “I-70 East.” Aptly driven by electric guitar, the song effectively introduces Scorzari’s unpolished, honest vocals and often emotional music. It was mentally composed while Scorzari was “wrestling with his steering wheel against crosswinds that pushed his car north [and] south down I-70 East in Kansas, during a 4-day drive home” from California to New York, from his most recent tour which he cut short because of “a decline in [the] health of his 94-year-old mother.”

The second selection is “Inside My Heart.” According to Scorzari, this is the second track because it was actually the second piece he finished once he returned home. It is highlighted by his addition of a Tibetan singing bowl and a Native American flute.

Scorzari said: “The song is in the Key of ‘C,’ but I didn’t have a Native American flute in that key, so I asked a Cherokee man, Mac, from California, to make me one specifically for this song. The flute that he made is beautiful and has the perfect voice for this song. The wind chimes were a gift his mother received when his father died. His mother passed away on Christmas 2020. He said their inclusion represented his parent’s “continuing presence” in his present-day life.

The next number is “All Behind Me Now.” It is surprisingly welcoming and perfect for a movie soundtrack. It presents listeners with a sense of perseverance and hopefulness for the future and a lesson in personal perspective.  

“Multnomah Falls” is a song-story about hiking through the rain and a second hike through Happy Valley, Oregon. It is, in essence, a metaphorical musical melding of memories. It is highlighted by Scorzari on the mandolin.

“Oceans in Your Eyes” has an interesting orchestral feel to it. Here, Scorzari expresses his imagination in a song that undoubtedly works well with the ladies. (Your randy writer occasionally finds himself getting lost in a lady’s eyes, so the song also expresses a feeling that is apparently not entirely uncommon as well.)

The sixth selection is “Not Should’ve Known.” This is yet another song rightfully chosen for singledom. The song somehow relays a sense of percipience and unpredictability.  

The seventh songful serving is the rootsy “The Broken Heart Side of the Road.” Here Scorzari tells the heart-breaking story of a failed relationship.  

“A Ghost, My Hat and My Coat” is an up-tempo audio offering that is radio-ready. Scorzari’s signature sound remains constant and solid.

“Patience and Time” is pensive and evocatively sentimental both in its music and message. It is perhaps a bit overshadowed by previous pieces but is a stand-alone song, nonetheless.

“1, 2, 3, Jump” has an almost devil-may-care air to it. It’s a musically buoyant song that some might say is overwhelmingly honest and perhaps even somehow encouraging as we face our everyday struggles.   

“Try, Try Again” is another nostalgic number. It’s also actually encouraging and positive. Scorzari also plays dobro here.  

Also included is “The Measure of a Man.” This is another cut that’s ready for radio. It comes complete with a sense of an everyman insight that listeners may later realize is a common element of much of his work.

The closing cut is “Tryin’, Tryin’, Tryin’, Tryin’.” Clocking in at just under 12 minutes, it is undoubtedly worthy of airplay on college radio. It was, in part, inspired by the time he spent in Ghost Rock and Salt Wash, Utah. The Navajo influence also comes to a head here. Here Scorzari adds Navajo vocals and plays a Native American Flute. Ty Allison provides Navajo chanting to add authenticity to the track. It is somehow quite different from all the other tracks and yet retains similar elements and works surprisingly well in Scorzari’s big picture.  

Overall… 

Overall, it is a solid, sometimes pleasantly surprising work that effectively presents some of Scorzari’s favorite themes: life’s challenges, personal pain and failure, perseverance, and tuneful tales of friends and loved ones.   

His honest, unpolished vocals provide an attention-grabbing contrast to the often soft and lovely music as he performs songs that have an upbeat composition despite lyrical tales that are sometimes troubled. Perhaps this glass-half-full perspective and initially surprising yet ultimately consistent sense of hope are truly what makes everything work so well. So check out Bill Scorzari ’s The Crosswinds Of Kansas and learn about “The Measure of a Man.”