Bill Nork tells stories. From the Oldest Daughter to the Innocent Bystander Nork writes songs about interesting people in strange situations.
Some of the songs from his 1997 CD Crazy Music are among my all-time favorites: New Guru, In Time to Come, Night to Remember, and the two previously mentioned can hold their own against anything. Maybe that's what gave me the hankering to record my own version of his record.
I wanted to make a rock record, something I hadn't done in a while. Every track involved finding a key and a mood and the riffs to make things work for my somewhat limited vocal range and abilities. In doing this I discovered a lot I didn't know about the songs. Some of them had seemed obvious, some like simple pop songs, but with Nork there are other levels worth investigating.
I hope I've uncovered things that will be new to you, whether you're familiar with the original versions or not. As you browse through the library you will find yourself on a journey through uncharted territory. It was only after I had been working on the project for a year that I realized that the song order fit into the cycle known as the Hero's Journey.
I doubt this was intentional on Bill's part. He probably hit on this order because it just felt right. If each of the songs tells a story, they're also somewhat like the chapters in a book.
1- Run Away and Hide
2- Who Do You Think You Are?
3- Innocent Bystander
4- Out of Love
5- Crazy Music
6- The Oldest Daughter...
7- Stay Away
8- Not Say Goodbye
9- Point of View
11- In Time to Come
12- Quick and Painless
13- Take Me to Your Heart
14- New Guru
15- A Night to Remember
16- Let Me Work for You
The tale begins in the 1970's. The place is Luckee's Elbo Room on the corner of Manor and Old Dorwart in Lancaster PA. I was there because although the drinking age in this state was 21, the staff at Luckee's, like Justice, was blind.
There was a band playing called Wooden Nickel- guitar, banjo and mandolin- and they were playing newgrass. When they took a break I found the singer and told him they needed a bass player. He agreed to give me a tryout. That's how I met Bill Nork (and got my first gig as a bass player).
from the left- Bill Noll, me, Bill Nork, and Tom Hansberry
We had a good run, playing together for a couple of years in places like Mackley's Mill and The Flintlock. I learned a lot in that band but still don't know all the chords in Midnight Moonlight.
On the side Bill and I began to collaborate on writing and recording original stuff in my studio, the Cat Ranch in Paradise, PA.
Bands came and went. We got together again during the new wave era with a band called the Fender Twinns. We had matching jackets from the Goodwill, and along with two of the Jewett brothers we played the original Chameleon and at least once, the Metron.
me, Tom, Mark, and Bill at the Metron
The Fender Twinns was intended to be a showcase for our songwriting. We released a 45 and a cassette EP, both recorded at Rich Hower's Gift Horse Studio in the mid 1980's.
Years passed. In the '90's Nork was in John Tuzza's Rockville Studio recording Crazy Music, a CD of originals he'd written since the Fender Twinns days.
Bill and John
Bill continued to play his songs in various bands through the 90's and 00's, and with The Gliders released several more CDs.
And that's about where things stood until I got the urge to record my own version of Crazy Music. Here are some songs from the record I call Send Me the Bill on Soundcloud.
Run Away and Hide
A Night to Remember
The 16 songs on this record are available from CD Baby, itunes, and other download and streaming sites. Check 'em out- it's a good read.