Renowned visual artist B. Wurtz began studying piano as a child and taught himself guitar as a teen. He also drew and painted. Late in high school his piano teacher urged him to consider a musical career but instead he felt compelled to focus intently on his art practice and has remained an artist to this day. His interest in listening to music has never flagged but performing was not part of his life again until a few years ago. In 2016, his wife Ann gifted him a guitar for their anniversary. While relearning initially proved difficult to uncalloused fingers, a mind sharpened by conceptual art work quickly formed its own refined songwriting approach. YouTube tutorials helped him produce demos on Garageband. He later added lyrics that blended philosophical thought with direct observation; birds and clouds passing outside his windows, signage on New York subways, a clock on his shelf. What resulted is Some Songs, an album produced by Harlan Steinberger at Hen House Studios in Venice.
Wurtz elaborates: “In 2018 I had a survey exhibition of my art. At the opening party I met Harlan Steinberger, who told me he was a music producer. Later he sent me an album he had just done with Sunny War. I loved it… That led to an amazing collaboration with Harlan and several other truly great musicians, including Sunny and Micah Nelson (aka Particle Kid). Thus the album came into being… I thought of the songs I had written as basically being pop music, but resulting from the mixture of things that influenced me — classical music (i.e. Bach and Mozart), ‘60s pop/rock (i.e. The Rolling Stones), country music (i.e. The Carter Family) and traditional American folk music (meaning mountain and southern music as well as shaped note, sacred harp music). I had no overriding theme in mind for the album. The music and lyrics just seemed to enter me, coming from somewhere else. I find that fascinating. I followed the same pattern for writing all the songs: first the chord structure, then the melody, and finally the lyrics. It’s very fun, like putting a puzzle together.”
The full album comes out October 16 and the first three songs – “The Shady Road,” “Light Shine Through,” and “The Song We Sing” – are available now as advance singles.
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Label: Hen House Studios