Bill Price

Bill Price

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
SoloFolkSinger/Songwriter

With one foot in folk and the other in rock, Bill Price is a singer-songwriter who performs both solo and with his band - performing for intimate house concerts or outdoor festivals alike. His recordings have been played on radio stations around the U.S., Canada and Europe.

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Biography

As a fan of The Beatles and Bob Dylan as a teenager, Price set his sights on being a songwriter. "I don't know if it was the realization that I was always going to be just an average guitar player, or the fact that I always have an opinion, that got me headed in the songwriting direction. But, for whatever reason, I just got that fire. I was inspired by certain music to try and do a similar thing, and I still am.."

Early collaborations with his cousin Dave Price and later on with Mario Noche were also based around writing original music. "Dave was the first person I knew that actually thought about having a "concept" for a song. Being in my early twenties, I thought that was pretty unique."

The collaboration with Mario Noche was also a fertile creative period. "I think we both respected each other's songwriting ability and that inspired us to always try and bring something of quality to the table."

In 2000 Price recorded his first album of original material, "Bones & Apples." It received airplay in the US and Europe on college and independent radio. He also teamed up with Indiana bluesman, Gordon Bonham to form "The Brains Behind Pa" - a three, sometimes five-piece band inspired by Dylan's songs and influences. "Gordon and I both have a love of Dylan's music and much that inspired him, so we started a side project to kind of explore all of that music." The result was "Old Hat," an EP CD that contained seven traditional, folk and blues songs. It also received airplay, on college and independent radio stations across the US, in Canada and Europe.

A songwriter that is in a band inspired by Bob Dylan is bound to take the next logical step - that is, write original music for his band. "It's an obvious extension of what we were exploring in all the old songs and Dylan's music. It was time to apply those qualities that we like in all of that music, to our own music. Carve out our own identity." The resulting album, "Better For The Deal," released in May of 2006, has fifteen original songs and strongly reflects the band's influences.

He has continued to perform and record music both with The Brains Behind Pa and other musicians. Price released The Circus & The Gallows 3-song CD single in 2007. In late 2009 he released With the Eye of a Skeptic..., a full-length, acoustic-based CD. "It has received some very warm reviews and radio airplay overseas - mainly in Europe," Price explains. "The reception to this record has been the most positive and extensive that any of my albums have received so far. We've had a couple of reviews in the U.K. and airplay in Ireland which is new territory for my projects." There have also been positive reviews and airplay in Canada, France, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, and Croatia to name a few others, as well as some airplay on independent and college radio in the U.S..

Price's music has continued to gather momentum both locally and in Europe where the last few CD releases have seen healthy airplay and positive reviews from independent radio and media.

Other influences include: Neil Young, Bruce Cockburn, Wilco, Tom Petty, Mark Knopfler, Indigo Girls, John Gorka, The Waifs and Steve Forbert

Lyrics

In a Flying Dream

Written By: Bill Price

All was well as night came creeping
Far below a midnight moon
And all was well 'til I rose sleeping
High above the room

In a flying dream, I flew above the ocean
In a flying dream, the black knight walked away
In a flying dream, Woody Guthrie, he was a saint
Picasso was king for a day

In a flying dream, Custer was a poet
In a flying dream, Little Big Horn was a band
In a flying dream, Napoleon conquered his fear instead
China's Great Wall was only sand
In a flying dream

Time will tell if my weightless journey
If motion, space and an inkwell sky
Are mine to call when I'm yours and yearning
With a bird's unnoticed eye

In a flying dream, Memphis was holy
In a flying dream, the Wrights were wrong about the plane
In a flying dream, Alexander, he wasn't so great
Elizabeth Cotten was a household name

In a flying dream, I flew above the ocean
In a flying dream, you never walked away
In a flying dream, I swear that you were a saint
And I was your king to the light of day
In a flying dream

© 2009 Mr. Quill Music (BMI)

Blue Period Blues

Written By: Bill Price

He met her at the Louvre - his love he tried to prove
Cupid stuck him like a dart, dart, dart
So he played the painter part, part, part
But all she would ever say is "Do you call that art?"

She inspired every stroke but bohemians go broke
So he painted in the dark, dark, dark
But he painted from the heart, heart, heart
But all she would ever say is "Do you call that art?"

He's got the blue period blues
The blue period blues

Determination never ceased to give her his masterpiece
But the canvas got stark, stark, stark
He was looking for a spark, spark, spark
But all she would ever say is "Do you call that art?"

Like a nude descending stairs, she blew right out of there
Knocked the apples from his cart, cart, cart
Knocked him back to the start, start, start
But all she would ever say is "Do you call that art?"

He's got the blue period blues
The blue period blues

He's got the blue period blues
He's got those blue period blues

He's got the blue, blue period blues
He's got those blue period blues

© 2009 Mr. Quill Music (BMI)

Henry's War

Written By: Bill Price

I asked Henry what he did - Mabel said "He's retired now"
I asked him did he like to hunt or hsh - she said, "His heart would not allow"
I asked him had he been to Europe or west to Sante Fe
She said, "Henry was in the war, you know" as his eyes stared far away

I asked him did he like to go for walks - she said, "He likes home the best"
When I asked him did his son ever come 'round, she said "Henry needs his rest"
I asked him had he been married long - had he ever been divorced
She said, "We were married in Nebraska when Henry came home from his war"

You see, Henry fought the Germans in nineteen forty-four
He helped preserve our freedom, but he lost his for sure
Was it what he saw at Omaha? - something shut his door
You can pick your battles, you cannot pick your war
Henry Moore ain't no more

I told him he was brave to smile in the face of Hitler's frown
Henry started to speak up, but old Mabel shot him down
She said "Henry can't talk about it; what he's lost you can't restore"
"That's why he seems to need me so" - she called it "Henry's War"

I asked Henry how he felt - Mabel said "Henry feels all right"
Just then his eyes met hers, but both his lips were tight
I asked him did he realize that she answered every time
She whispered "Something like the devil won't let Henry speak his mind"

Henry fought the Germans in nineteen forty-four
He helped preserve our freedom, but he lost his for sure
Was it what he saw at Omaha? - something shut his door
You can pick your battles, you cannot pick your war
Henry Moore - he ain't no more

I asked Henry how he spent his time, as the days go by
Mabel said "For some odd reason, he watches clouds go 'cross the sky"
When I asked him what he read, she said, "The Bible and the Post"
"He reads the parts about the exodus and resurrection most"

Henry fought the Germans in nineteen forty-four
He helped preserve our freedom, but he lost his for sure
Was it what he saw at Omaha? Well, something shut his door
You can pick your battles, you cannot pick your war
Henry Moore just ain't no more

Mabel passed away on Armistice Day leaving Henry both his freedom and his fear
With all due respect, I sort of suspect that today's the truce in Henry's war
Though I stand afar, I know who you are - in your eye's both a twinkle and a tear
And I want to convey what Mabel wouldn't say to a soldier just landing on his shore
Welcome home

You see, Henry Moore - he is once more

© 2009 Mr. Quill Music (BMI)

Black Dog Blues

Written By: Bill Price

Crossin' their line in 12/8 time - your feet don't fit
You revisit your mind and you finally find your head's been split

They always start consolin' when they see you ain't a-strollin'
Down their one-way, must-pay, uniformin' kinda avenue

They ask you why you're losin' - you just tell them that you're choosin'
To be walkin' and a-livin' to the rhythm of the black dog blues

Stuck in your stance in your life-long dance - shoestrings in a knot
You see the fool's rule's glare, feel the cool, steel stare as the curtain drops

With their daily stallin' you're bouncin' and a-fallin'
Like a high-strung, bell-rung, silly putty kinda kangaroo

But when they start a-naggin' you just tell them that you're waggin'
Your pale, frail tail to the rhythm of the black dog blues

Now there's black on your shoulder
Your constant companion
To tell you the truth - true but colder
The sky's limit - the confines of the canyon

When you do declare, your thoughts are theirs - you'll erase the tattoo
Your brains and bones are yours alone - only you are you

They're always second-guessin' but they'll never be confessin'
To their headstrong, dead-wrong, put-down kinda point of view

You gotta be courageous and it just might be contagious
To be givin' and a-livin' to the rhythm of the black dog blues

© 2003 Mr. Quill Music (BMI)

Wooden Indian

Written By: Bill Price

A candyman performance deep in the medicine show
Soft-shoe side-stepping the strings of the blind Jim Crow

A carpetbagger's draw on the mud-caked route
A pistol in the back tryin' to shoot me out

I was drowning in the indigo

Magnolia mansions sinking in the undertow
Potions of romantics - the rhythm of the row

Anger in the air - the wind was blowing loss
The ferry was full - you couldn't come across

How you beat the black muddy, I don't know

There I stood - solid wood
How you could free me from my pose

Cigar store minstrel - a witness to the cotton crowd
Unable to dance - unable to take a bow

A painted personality, bound but unaware
Missing disposition, missing pride or prayer

How'd you make the silence loud

There I stood - solid wood
How you could free me from my pose

Adorned with feathers, with the weight of a stone
Back to the window - lacking flesh and bone

Broke and out of business - blushing with freedom's face
This elixir of emotion outruns the dead man's chase

They've tipped the last of all the shoe-shine bards
They've broken all the bottles, marked up all the cards

How'd you free me within your embrace

There I stood - solid wood
How you could free me from my pose

© 2003 Mr. Quill Music (BMI)

Mudroom

Written By: Bill Price

I'm standing in the mudroom - wiping off my shoes
Wiping off the mud - wiping off these blues
I'm standing in the mudroom - but I won't be in here long
Standing in the mudroom - wiping off all your dirty wrongs

I was walking down your dirt road when the sky began to rain
My feet they got heavy - heavy with the pain
But I've stepped into my mudroom and I'm doing the redemption shuffle
It's looking like my feet are involved in some filthy kinda scuffle

Dancing in the mudroom - twist and shout
Dancing in the mudroom - until I wipe your demons out

I used to travel lightly all around this town
My steps they had a spring but now they're weighted down
I was walking right behind you - just my luck
I was walking where you'd spoken - I stepped and then it stuck

There's mud and filth and grime - everybody knows
Even kings and queens have had it - it's everywhere you go
But the muck that's stuck to me don't make me brown, it makes me blue
I'm retracing my footprints and they all lead back to you

Dancing in the mudroom - jitterbug
Dancing in the mudroom - since I met you, I really cut a rug

Now the neighbors kinda wonder - they gossip and they fret
They see me dancing in my mudroom but they ain't heard no music yet
Well I tell them not to worry - it's only right, it can't be wrong
Everybody needs a mudroom - sometimes life's a dirty, muddy song

Dancing in the mudroom - hippy hippy shake
Dancing in the mudroom - sets me free - goodness sake

© 2006 Mr. Quill Music (BMI)

The Other Side of the River

Written By: Bill Price

She stood in line - clicked her hi-heels
Stranded in the shadow of the cold gray steel
Next stop was Juarez - end of the line
Border towns were breathing like a neon sign when it hums

I remember flagpoles - desert sand
Petroglyphs and parrots and off key bands
Fools and flats - a sweating black train
A dot on the horizon just to ease the pain when it comes

I don't want to promise you something I can't deliver
I don't want to say to you things will be different
Once we cross the river

Endless enchantment - red chile on her lip
Queen Mary and the padre board a sinking ship
Without fault without work
Broken-hearted Rita and the motel clerk disappear

Somewhere inside silence - loud as a horn
Gabriel's mission sounds a silvery scorn
Heed the heat - shade your bloody eyes
You can count on one fist the clouds in the sky so clear

I don't want to promise you something I can't deliver
I don't want to say to you things will be different
Once we cross the river

A sombrero in tatters - an Anasazi queen
Nothing like the story in the magazine
A sword and a gown nailed above her bed
With a postcard of the moon over a bathed in red ghost town

The pueblo kid keeping time with his cane
Scorpion hospitality yet I still remain
The sun paints a shadow - the sky turns to rust
Medusa on the mesa leaves her cowboy busted down

I don't want to promise you something I can't deliver
And I don't want to say to you things will be different
Once we cross the river

© 2006 Mr. Quill Music (BMI)

Silver Spade

Written By: Bill Price

Graveyard shift ain't no fun
With your back against the stone
Poems and prayers all adrift
Part-rose, half-froze, moonlight, pure white like a bone

A thousand crows in naked trees
Rotten planks across the bridge
Black water flows below
It's murky, it's jerky, it's swirling, hurling on a pilgrimage

A circuit rider among the dead
Delivering promises cursed and prayed
A pale rider among the quick
Brings to me a silver spade

Muddy boots, holy gloves
Aging hands upon the plow
A ribbon of black - fingers like roots
Turncoat, last wrote an unspoken, an unbroken vow

A circuit rider among the dead
Delivering promises cursed and prayed
A pale rider among the quick
Brings to me a silver spade

Graveyard shift ain't no fun
With your heart around the clock
The bleat of lambs, a fleeting gift
Faded, paraded, burned out, turned out from the flock

A circuit rider among the dead
Delivering promises cursed and prayed
A pale rider among the quick
Brings to me a silver spade

Graveyard shift ain't no fun

© 2006 Mr. Quill Music (BMI)

Fixer-upper

Written By: Bill Price

Fixer-upper
Words and music by Bill Price

Of all the lovers that beat the clock, all the best have been around the block
They don't rent - they always own
But a marriage that's got no visible quirks is like a house that don't need work
A model house just ain't no home
We make our bed like we build our house, take the lot with the view like we take our spouse
Brick or wood, small or big
A bungalow, a tipi or a ranch, a castle or a cabin - it's a home romance
The shelter of our love, that's our digs

We've been around like a big old house
We got a past like a big old house

Right now our love is like a fixer-upper
There's a long, long list of things we have to do
Like fixing feelings - like fixing supper
Every day there are chores for me and you

Peeling paint and the curtains worn thin, a broken door where the past blows in
A deadbolt busted and the words they flew
A nagging faucet that always drips, a hazy mirror where you pout your lips
Some renovation is overdue
A creaking floor that tests your nerve, like the times when we both just won't swerve
Two stubborn minds like rusty screws
When the fridge kicks on and the dryer dies, even though it's no surprise
That's the time we blow a fuse

We show our wear like a big old house
We fall apart like a big old house

I guess our love is just a fixer-upper
Things are breaking down everywhere
So we fix our feelings and we fix each other
A never-ending list of repairs

The basement's dark and it's always damp but we can stop the leak we can light a lamp
A bit more mortar between the bricks
That antique tub has overflown like the pain gone by that we both have known
But there ain't nothin' that we can't fix
We fix the furnace and it keeps us warm, patch our roof - weather the storm
That's nothing new in this dusty space
Our foundation is fast and firm - historic might be the term
It's old but there's love built in this place

We're still around like a big old house
We were built to last like a big old house

You see, our love is like a fixer-upper
There's a long, long list of things I want to do
Like loving you like I love no other
There ain't no end to my love for you

© 2009 Mr. Quill Music (BMI)

Foot in the Dirt

Written By: Bill Price

Foot in the Dirt
Words and music by Bill Price

I will walk in pale-green summer
And I will walk in slate-blue cold
I will walk as autumn's sunlight dims
And I will sing life's ancient hymn

Eye in the sky, foot in the dirt
For the steps up to heaven are made simply of earth

I will feel the mist in the meadow
And I will feel the pulse of the river's iow
Long white clouds will be my compass now
And I will walk forever free

Eye in the sky, foot in the dirt
For the steps up to heaven are made simply of earth

The steps up to heaven...

© 2009 Mr. Quill Music (BMI)

Discography

WITH THE EYE OF A SKEPTIC
13 original songs • 2009

THE CIRCUS & THE GALLOWS
3 original song CD single • 2007

BETTER FOR THE DEAL
(The Brains Behind Pa)
15 original songs • 2006

BONES & APPLES
16 original songs • 2003

OLD HAT
(The Brains Behind Pa)
7 traditional songs • 2001

Set List

Bill Price plays all original music

When performing with The Brains Behind Pa, the set list will be 90% original music with a few traditional folk and blues songs plus the rare Dylan cover