I Saw Bill Kirchen Tonight

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I Saw Bill Kirchen Tonight

Post by rparker » March 12th, 2010, 9:57 pm

He played two sets right outside of Raleigh at a new-ish music house-cafe-bar-music store kind of thing. I didn't even hear of him until gnease, I think it was him, turned us all on to his Hot Rod Lincoln Video. Well, let me tell you, that is one rocking old dude. He crossed genres effortlessly. A few of his Commander Cody tunes, some of his newer tunes, some covers, he went honky tonk, rockabillly, Blues, surf, etc. No problems. Did all of his fancy little parlor tricks. Delightful on stage humor and personality.

He played two guitars. Both "Teles". One was some thing called a Baritone Tele. big honking neck. Deeper sound. Loved it. The other was an "off" brand that I now forget. I want to say "Jarvis". At any rate, very light. It felt like it weighed 4 pounds - Oh, he showed it to me after I asked him about his switch between sets - he said the neck had no truss rod and that he sunk the bridge a bit, but the action was still a little high. (Which it was, even by my cheap gear having standards.) By that time, a really fine player from the opening act, a nice trio with killer vocals, had walked over and had it and was giving him playing card shim advice. Bill said the neck was twisted a bit anyhow and didn't seem to keen on repairing the problem anytime soon.

He played out of what looked like a 70's era Fender Reverb 1X12. The ones with the blue lettering. I hope I am not telling false info. The same guy from the warm up act told me earlier after handing him all my extra napkins due to him spilling coffee near it, (close call) that Bill had had the amp really tricked out.

Did I mention I had front table, front seat?

Well, what I will most remember, aside from chatting with him a bit, was that he went everywhere on that guitar for tone. By golly, he paid for 25 1/2 inches not-to-bridge, and he was not getting cheated. He also paid for his upside down (switch on bottom) controls and he by golly, he didn't get cheated due to lack of use. Not just the hot rod lincoln song. The whole show. Oh, when were were chatting, I mentioned how effortless he makes switching p-ups and changing vol-tone controls mid somg looked. He said that he doesn't even know he does it anymore. It was just that automatic, he said.

Fairly decent crowd there too. We were 2nd in line and had pre-purchased tickets. I turned around. It was a big room, but I bet there were well over 100 people easy. Not bad for a "cafe".

Well, I got my 15 dollars worth and it'll be worth every ounce of head pain I will have tomorrow. (I felt compelled to by a CD or two or 3. $20 each, 3 for $50 I'm glad he only had 3 different ones there)

Well, I don't get out much. I make it count when I do, though. :wink:

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

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Re: I Saw Bill Kirchen Tonight

Post by dhodge » March 13th, 2010, 12:18 am

A "baritone guitar" is a guitar that has a longer neck and (usually) the fifth string is the low E string. This allows you to have a lower string, usually tuned to the B or A below low E, as the sixth string. That A would be the same A as a bass guitar's A open A string.

You don't see them around much, but they used to be played all the time, often doubling the bass parts in country and rockabilly music. Brad Paisley is one artist that uses one relatively frequenly.

This sounds like it was a great time, Roy. Glad you could go and really glad you enjoyed it!


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Re: I Saw Bill Kirchen Tonight

Post by Blue Jay » March 13th, 2010, 9:35 pm

That dee-lightful Roy. Glad you were able to go, and enjoyed it. :D

Right, everybody says he is approachable, and he may have used these Big Tex guitars and sometimes Talos Amps.
http://www.bigtexguitars.net/ and amps http://talosinstruments.com/Home.htm

"March_2008: Our longtime friend and Telecaster guru Bill Kirchen takes delivery of his new Big Tex T model at SXSW in Austin. Bill has retired his faithful "Coal Burner" and put in an order after test driving a Big Tex '55 T in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Great to have Bill on board!"

On your last video, I noticed the reverse control plate on his "Ol' Coal Burner" right from the get-go, and how he does effortless pinkie swells and switching, like Roy Buchanan, R.I.P, and also blues Strat player Walter Trout (Canned Heat, Free Radicals).
Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

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Re: I Saw Bill Kirchen Tonight

Post by cnev » March 17th, 2010, 1:49 pm

I don't know the guy but I remember he song Hot Rod Lincoln and used to like it.
"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!

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