Bill Noonan

Bill Noonan

BandAmericana

Veteran Carolina roots rocker, songwriter, and guitarist leads his band of Fallen Gentlemen through engaging sets of highly-believable orginals and too cool to leave behind covers. Known for creative, entertaining, and energetic live performances.

Biography

Bill Noonan is best known in indie music circles as leader and chief songwriter of the Rank Outsiders, Charlotte NC-based roots-rock pioneers who were a popular fixture on the Southeastern music scene for more than a decade from 1990 until 2002. Now with the release of his second post-Ranks CD, The Man That I Can’t Be, Noonan fully asserts himself as a front man, realizing the full range of his vision as a songwriter, vocalist, and musician.

While Noonan has been influential in helping a number of other regional artists tell their stories—including Carolina rock poet David Childers, bluegrass balladeer Michael Reno Harrell, and ex-wife and Rank vocalist Gigi Dover—only recently has he begun to steer his own course as a solo artist and performer.

Noonan led the Rank Outsiders to Nashville in 1994, where they began recording under the guidance of producer Chris Keaton, mingling with Music City’s more adventurous writers and performers at gigs like Billy Block’s Western Beat Barn Dance. The buzz words “Americana” and “alt-Country” were just beginning to be used to describe the rootsy sound that fell somewhere between the borders of country and rock and roll, a style that Noonan—inspired by artists such as the Rolling Stones, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, and Rodney Crowell—had pursued with diligence since his earliest days as a performer.

The Ranks’ second CD, Checkpoint, was recorded at Garry Tallent’s Moondog Studio in 1997 and combined these influences on a selection of listener-friendly originals, receiving strong national airplay on the emerging Americana radio format, and leading to high-profile appearances on shows such as “World Café” and legendary New York DJ Vin Scelsa’s “Idiot’s Delight.”

Following the success of Checkpoint, and inspired by the camaraderie he had seen and experienced on the Nashville music underground, Noonan focused his energies on bringing together like-minded artists in the Charlotte music community to increase the visibility of homegrown original music.

The result of Noonan’s grassroots initiative was the Americana Music Showcase, a weekly series which ran for five years at Charlotte’s venerable Double Door Inn. The showcase paired local talent with touring Americana acts, including Rank Outsiders’ Nashville friends such as Duane Jarvis, Greg Trooper, and Tim Carroll.

At the same time, Noonan created Rank Records, a co-op label that leveraged the Rank Outsiders’ promotional resources to advance projects by local collaborators, including now well-known regional artists Childers and Harrell.

During this period Noonan also played a key role in developing the solo career of Gigi Dover, organizing, co-writing, and performing on her first two solo projects: an EP recorded in 2000 with Grammy-winning producer John Jennings (Mary Chapin Carpenter), and 2002’s Unpicked Flowers, recorded in Nashville at Moondog, produced by Tim Coats and featuring Garry Tallent on bass on cuts including Noonan’s composition “Wasn’t Meant To Be,” a tune he revamped for inclusion on The Man That I Can’t Be.

Noonan’s music career and personal life both took an unforeseen turn when his marriage and musical partnership with Dover ended in 2003. Knowing that it would take some time for the dust to settle, Noonan left Charlotte and moved to the deep country of Cherokee County, South Carolina. For the next two years he continued writing, performed occasionally around the region, and spent much of his time pursuing outdoor interests in Upstate South Carolina.

In 2005, he returned to the studio, and his 2006 release, Catawba City, defined an original Carolina roots-rock sound that richly reflected the colors of his home region, while revealing greater personal depth on themes of life, love, and loss, set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing rural South.

Catawba City received notable airplay on Americana stations and specialty shows in the US and climbed into the teens on the Euro Americana chart. Songs like “Get Off My Land” and the title cut, “Catawba City,” reaffirmed Noonan’s value as a Southeastern songwriter, and over the next two years he returned to the stage, playing frequent live dates around the Carolinas.

In 2008, Noonan began a long-planned collaboration with producer Mark Lynch (David Childers, Lou Ford), recording on the outskirts of Charlotte with engineer Chris Garges at Old House Studio. The result of these sessions, The Man That I Can’t Be, is now slated for release on July 21, 2009.

Lynch’s treatment on this collection of genre-hopping originals and eclectic covers remains true to Noonan’s roots music reverence while gaining a firm foothold on the edgy musical terrain of the 21st century. Though not a complete departure from his country-influenced sound of previous years—the cover of Gene Clark’s “Tried So Hard” is a highlight of the collection—The Man That I Can’t Be demonstrates Noonan’s genuine affinity with a full range of essential American m

Lyrics

Get Off My Land

Written By: Bill Noonan

Mister, you’re on my property
Seen you measuring and digging around
In your golfing clothes and your pickup truck
A developer from in town
If I ain’t wrong I still own this place
Still working it with my hands
Get off of my land

I might be old but I ain’t blind
I see what’s been going on
Every other ol’ family living on this road
You got moved out and gone
But right here’s where I aim to spend my days
Right here’s where I’ll make my stand
Get off of my land

Cause the cattle can’t graze and the grass won’t grow
On those asphalt fields you’re building
And it breaks my heart seeing neighbors and friends
Getting sold out by their own children
I aim to graze my cattle and cut my hay
Right there where you stand
Get off of my land

You say you came in the name of progress
But we can slow it right down to a crawl
And here’s you one ol’ son of a gun
Won’t succumb to suburban sprawl
So you can get on back to your office in town
With them subdivision plans
Get off of my land

The tall trees still surround my house
Where it sits back off the road
And if I catch you out here just one more time
I’ll speak my mind with a buckshot load
I aim to graze my cattle and cut my hay
Right there where you stand
Get off of my land

Discography

Bill Noonan Discography:
The Man That I Can't Be - Bill Noonan (2009)
Catawba City — Bill Noonan Band (2006)
Unpicked Flowers — Gigi Dover (2002)
Gigi Dover — Gigi Dover (2000)
Time Machine — David Childers (1998)
Known On The Underground - Rank Records Compilation (1998)
Checkpoint — Rank Outsiders (1997)
One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure — Rank Outsiders (1995)
First Things First — Rank Outsiders (1994)

Set List

Live, Bill Noonan showcases a deep-rooted original repertoire encompassing core American musical styles: folk, blues, country and western, and the hybrid that he tags “traditional rock ’n’ roll.”

Sets combine Noonan's new original material, favorites from his previous band Rank Outsiders, and an eclectic range of cover material spanning old-fashioned country and western, retro pop and R&B, and rockers from the likes of the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and Neil Young.