Upon tallying how many decades he’s worked as a professional guitar slinger, Telecaster master Bill Kirchen quips, “Well, they don't make 50 years like they used to.”
They don’t often make careers like his, either. From performing with his Who Knows Pickers jug band in Ann Arbor High School’s senior talent show (also on the program: the future Iggy Pop), to birthing the Americana genre with the original “hippie country band,” Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen, this affable Austinite has been everywhere, man, flying alongside some of the planet’s coolest cats — including the Jesus of Cool, Nick Lowe, and Lowe’s old protégé, Elvis Costello. Kirchen has toured the world with Lowe, who produced an album by Kirchen’s post-Airmen band, the Moonlighters, and Costello recruited Kirchen for high-profile gigs like the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival — and even named his festival band after Kirchen’s Hammer of the Honky-Tonk Gods album..
Lowe appears on that 2006 album, and its 2010 follow-up, Word to the Wise, along with Costello, Maria Muldaur, Dan Hicks and other luminaries. And now those albums, plus Kirchen’s third Proper Records release, 2013’s Seeds and Stems, are being combined with three bonus tracks from Transatlantica, his 2016 project with pub-rock progenitor Austin de Lone, as a two-CD retrospective titled The Proper Years. Waxworks, is a vinyl best-of version of the collection.
An unmissable opportunity to celebrate great guitar playing from the twang titan of the Telecaster.
Opening act is the James Oliver Band, who is in Bill Kirchen’s words “The real deal, a passionate roots rocker loaded with guitar firepower.”