Bill Deasy back in the regular music groove
From 2000 to 2009, Bill Deasy released nine albums, seven as a solo musician. Then came more than three years of silence from the usually prolific Oakmont resident.
“It's a function of my life,” Deasy says. “I got my first day job (director of the Allegheny County Office of Special Events) and that definitely changed the dynamics of my creative life.”
“Start Again,” the new release, will be unveiled April 26 at a sold-out concert at the Oaks Theater in Oakmont. Deasy admits for a time he suffered from a mild case of writer's block. When the music and lyrics started to flow again in 2012, the tenor of the compositions were different than his recent solo material.
“I think by stepping away from it and disassociating myself in a way from music, hearing other people's music while working at concerts for the county, that kind of re-inspired me,” he says. “It helped me to clear my head, and, ultimately, it led me to revisit my initial inspirations, the roots of my music and why I first wanted to make music. It gave me a new perspective and re-charged my batteries.”
Deasy's most notable achievements came with the Gathering Field, the local band that received national acclaim for its single “Lost in America” in 1996. But “Start Again” predates that work. When Deasy emailed an MP3 of the new song “Heaven's Gate” to Gathering Field bassist Eric Riebling, the response was immediate.
“Eric said it reminded him of a Shiloh song,” says Deasy, referring to the band he led that won the Graffiti Rock Challenge in 1991. “And that was a really good sign because I was trying to return to how it felt to write and perform and make music when I was much younger and the whole world was wide open and everything was kind of fresh. It was a good sign that Eric heard it that way.”
Youth — or a relative youth — played another role in the making of “Start Again.” Deasy enlisted Chris Parker of the City Dwelling Nature Seekers to produce, engineer and arrange the new record. Parker, who drums and plays guitar with CDNS, brought in his bandmates Lee Hintenlang and Matt Booth to perform.
“Chris is a real force to be reckoned with,” Deasy says. “I think he's a special musician. He has a talent that's unusual and rare for someone his age.”
It is still a Bill Deasy album, so there are certain touchstones present: honeyed vocals, literate lyrics, ingratiating melodies. It's also an album that makes no bones about its influences. The first two songs on the release, the title track and “Heaven's Gate,” are notable in that they evoke one of his musical heroes, Van Morrison.
“The whole record is consciously intended as an homage to Van and Jackson Browne and Bruce Springsteen,” Deasy says. “All the great songwriters from the ‘70s who blew my mind and shaped my style.”
Rege Behe is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Reviews: Albums celebrate the stylistic differences of piano trios
- One Direction brings the thrills to Heinz Field audience
- Photo gallery: Luke Bryan at First Niagara Pavilion
- Graham Nash’s summer break ... is going out on tour solo
- Van Halen plays plenty of favorites in First Niagara show
- Pop band One Direction is moving forward with tour stop at Heinz Field
- Out of the Blue rediscovers winning musical formula
- Pentatonix’s road to musical success didn’t follow usual drumbeat