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Bill Ring | Invisible Fingers

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Rock: Lo-Fi Rock: American Underground Moods: Solo Male Artist
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Invisible Fingers

by Bill Ring

Indie folk-rock with a brain and a sense of humor. (First line of song 1: "Adam Smith's invisible hand gave me the finger last night.") Guitar and harmonica leads you'll remember.
Genre: Rock: Lo-Fi
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Adam Smith
1:49 $0.99
2. Love in a Jar
4:11 $0.99
3. Peacoat
4:24 $0.99
4. Believe it or Not
3:38 $0.99
5. Probably
3:47 $0.99
6. Stuck Again For the First Time
3:15 $0.99
7. I Hope You Don't Mind
3:52 $0.99
8. People All Over the World
4:31 $0.99
9. Gypsy Lady
2:36 $0.99
10. Little Dog
3:00 $0.99
11. I'm Your Man
3:46 $0.99
12. Always Tomorrow
3:38 $0.99
13. Goodbye
4:39 $0.99
14. In the Eye
3:02 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The second of my “solo” CD releases. The first, Bill Ring and Friends, features instrumentals and background vocals by most of the people who played with me in
clubs over the years. With the exception of one drum track, everything on that CD was played by a real person, with no synths, samplers, etc.

Invisible Fingers is a very different proposition. Except for the Mehndi hand illustration by Loretta Roome, this CD is an exercise in solipsism. What I could do myself (guitars, harmonicas, vocals) I did; the rest (drums, keyboards, wind instruments) I programmed in midi. This is probably as close to a rock album as I'm likely to come. The title refers to a lyric in the first song, and also to the midi tracks (played by “invisible fingers”). I considered calling it Alone at Last, but then I wouldn’t have been able to use Loretta’s wonderful drawing.

All of the mixes on this CD were previously available only on limited edition cassettes Don't Worry, It's Only Me; The Fall of the House of Escher; and Invisible Fingers. They have been remastered for improved sound quality.

Adam Smith - I was hoping this song about reduced economic expectations would seem out of date by now. Silly me.
Love in a Jar - Complaint rock with sex and drug references - something for everyone.
Peacoat - This song started out to be about a particular lover, but wound up being about several different ones. Anybody know the feeling?
Believe it or Not - Sort of jazzy with a cheesy “sax” lead. (Or is this so out-of-date that it is now “vintage” and therefore cool?)
Probably - My dubious attempt at a Buddy Holly style.
Stuck Again For the First Time - Fast, funky. I like the synth bass line.
I Hope You Don’t Mind - By far the nastiest song I’ve ever released (though not the worst I’ve written). No apologies, but it did present a challenge figuring out what song to put after it. Since anything I selected would have been a drastic change of mood, I decided to go for broke and follow up with my most positive song:
People All Over the World - This children’s song was written for a play about the man in the moon that was supposed to star Roger Daltrey. In the story, children’s dreams and wishes come to the man in the moon like letters. This song is his response.
Gypsy Lady - It’s only rock and roll, but I like it.
Little Dog - My take on an old blues lyric.
I’m Your Man - No relation to the Leonard Cohen song. The only country song on this CD.
Always Tomorrow - I will probably do this over in a different style eventually, but I like the feel of this version.
Goodbye - The arrangement is a bit too happy for some people’s taste, considering the lyric, but one person’s contrast is another’s conflict.
In the Eye - By far the folkiest song on this disc. The “flute” is another cheesy synth classic.

Bill Ring began playing in New York City in 1968. His first band, Another Country, was a folk-rock group that played mostly at the appropriately named Cafe Bizarre on Third St. in Greenwich Village. That club, along with pretty much every other venue they ever played (including the old Sterns department store across 42nd St from Bryant Park!) has long since been torn down and plowed under.

After 15 years of solo performing, Bill joined with Sally Eaton and Peter Pasco to form a new version of Another Country, featuring assorted acoustic instruments, three-part harmonies, and the considerable songwriting talents of all three. The acoustic edition of Another Country appeared frequently at Speakeasy and Folk City, both of which no longer exist. (Anyone notice a trend here?)

Along the way he mixed live sound for performers including Herbie Mann, Aretha Franklin, Paul Butterfield, Kiss, and many others. He has also been an electronics designer and chief tech at a major New York studio.

After Another Country, Bill began working with his backup band, Ironwood, which at one time or another has included most of the musicians listed in the notes of the CD Bill Ring and Friends. There was also a short-lived collaboration known as Sixteen Wheeler, which featured Bonnie Burns, Jaki D'accardi, and David Ruderman for one gig at Wetlands, and Rod Horowitz in place of David at the Eagle Tavern.

In 1991 Bill teamed with Constance Taylor to front Ironwood. They also appeared as a duo under the name Cool Dolphin. (Constance now lives and performs in San Francisco. Check out her page on Folksmith.com.)

Besides the clubs mentioned above, Bill Ring has been heard live and recorded on many NY area radio stations, including WBAI and WQXR, and on college and community stations around the USA.

In 2002, he moved from New York City, his life-long home, to a renovated barn in the Catskills, where he set up the recording studio in which he completed all five of his CD's (available on CDbaby.com). The first four compiled remastered versions of his earlier recordings. The most recent, Still On My Mind, was recorded and mixed in his new studio.

Since July, 2007 he has lived in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, where he works as an electronics designer. He has recently begun playing clubs in the Ithaca area. (See the new Folksmith Show Announcements page for details of upcoming appearances.)

Other recordings available on CD Baby include:

Still On My Mind: Latest and best. Beautifully recorded in the sweetest-sounding barn in the Catskill Mountains, Still On My Mind features drums and percussion by Bob Lepre, acoustic and electric bass by Rusty Boris of Barely Lace, fiddle by Brahm Stuart of Shaman, sax by Chuck Hancock, harmonies by Bibi Farber and Constance Taylor, and acoustic and electric guitars, harmonica, and vocals by Bill Ring. A bakers dozen original songs performed, arranged and engineered by the writer.

"I think all my albums have a lot to offer, but this is the best-sounding by far. It features several old friends and a couple of new ones, and all their performances are very special. You'll find some humor here, and a dash of social comment, but the prevailing theme is memory, particularly bittersweet recollections of love."

If you buy only one album by this artist, this is the one you must have.

Beneath a Violet Sun: Dark, death-obsessed Newage weirdness beginning with a Quicksilver-esque rock number and ending with a 30+ minute sound sculpture featuring rain stick and assorted small percussion instruments. In between lurk four Goth-folk pieces that many aficionados consider among Bill Ring's best-written songs. Some very cool, dreamy instrumental work here as well, particularly the electric guitar lead on Sand. Only six songs, but an hour's worth of highly unusual music. Very different from his other albums, and well worth repeated listening.

Bill Ring and Friends: Digitally remastered cuts from early cassette releases Heaven Somewhere; Ironwood; and Cool Dolphin. Also includes two songs recorded live at the Sun Mountain Cafe. All original songs. Lyrics and music by Bill Ring except for song 13, which is an original musical setting of a poem by John Keats. Lots of acoustic instruments, including 6- and 12-string guitars, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, flute, harmonica, harmonium, and percussion, with some electric bass and even an electric guitar thrown in.

You Are Here: The fourth and final album compiling Bill Ring's pre-millennium recordings, which were previously available only on private release cassettes. The first seven songs are similar to the material on Bill Ring and Friends: Old-time country sounding instrumentals featuring fiddle, banjo, guitar, and harmonica, but with less than traditional lyrics. The next three songs are electric productions that might have been included in Invisible Fingers. The next four songs are solo folk numbers, including a tribute(?) to the guru of deconstruction, Jaques Derrida, and the title song, whose gist can be gathered from a quick glance at the cover art. The album concludes with a pair of instrumentals: one an acoustic improvisation in 10/8 time based on a diminished scale, and the other a dreamy meditative piece featuring harmonium and whirling gong.



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