Bill Orcutt | Reckless Records | In-Stores | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Wed., Sept. 8, 12 p.m. 2010
After the 1997 breakup of Harry Pussy, the influential Miami noise-rock group he anchored with singer and drummer Adris Hoyos, guitarist BILL ORCUTT retreated from making music. He moved to San Francisco, got married, had children, and worked as software engineer. But when he helped assemble the 2008 Harry Pussy anthology You'll Never Play This Town Again for Load Records, he got interested in, well, playing again. Last year he returned with a powerful solo statement, A New Way to Pay Old Debts (Palilalia), using an acoustic guitar fitted with pickups similar to those used by Chicago blues great Elmore James. His approach could be loosely characterized as fingerstyle, but his ferocious attack and in-the-red tone are anything but rustic or folksy—though he draws on country-blues language, he does it with a violence reminiscent of his playing in Harry Pussy, wrenching dense bent-note scale patterns and resonant explosions from his instrument. He covers Lightnin' Hopkins's "Sad News From Korea," transforming it into a barrage of abrasive bursts, and that cluster-bomb treatment makes it of a piece with his originals, which thread similar detonations along single-note strands or slashing chords to create a sort of probing, throbbing "blues." Here and there Orcutt vocalizes, and though sometimes he seems to be forming words, his singing generally follows the shape of his guitar lines, giving them an extra emotional heft instead of adding anything like a foreground melody—it's as though his turbulent playing is simply carrying his voice with it.

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