William Duke | The Sunrise and the Night

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Pop: California Pop Pop: Beatles-pop Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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The Sunrise and the Night

by William Duke

Dreamy California pop. Think Brian Wilson, Curt Boettcher, ELO, Bread, Big Star. Harmonies, hooks, synthesizers.
Genre: Pop: California Pop
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  Song Share Time Download
1. It's Only the Beginning...
2:13 $0.99
2. Keep Me in Your Thoughts
3:56 $0.99
3. The Great Escape
3:18 $0.99
4. 36th Avenue Entrance to the Park
3:16 $0.99
5. Serenity Hammock
0:37 $0.99
6. The Canyon
3:57 $0.99
7. A Moment in the Sun
2:56 $0.99
8. The Impending Happiness
3:29 $0.99
9. Pacifica
1:02 $0.99
10. The Sunrise and the Night
4:11 $0.99
11. You're Young and You'll Forget
2:54 $0.99
12. Sacrificial Light
3:57 $0.99
13. Montebello
2:55 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Born and raised under the California sun, William has fond memories of summers in the ‘70s playing Atari and wearing out his collection of records and 8-tracks by The Beatles, The Monkees, Styx, KISS, Supertramp and Cheap Trick. Little did he know that listening to his older brother’s prog-rock albums by The Moody Blues, Yes, ELO and Jethro Tull would also have a big creative influence on his music.

William earned his callouses during childhood guitar lessons and joined his first band – Thoracic Strike – when he was 18. He rocked the bass with enthusiasm, but the band never left the garage.

In 1989, he was tapped to become the lead vocalist of Wyrd, one of the hottest bands in the Central Valley. The band was renamed Psychodome and soon became a popular headliner on the local club scene. Psychodome recorded two self-released, Lucky Lew-engineered albums and made their mark in LA playing Sunset Strip institutions like Gazzarri’s and the Whisky A Go-Go. William’s days with the band wound down in the early ‘90s, and he left to hone his songwriting skills.

With his first 4-track and microphone, William recorded songs in his home recording studio from 1993-94. He teamed up with friend Trent Fuehrer and made some recordings under the name Around November. The self-financed album was produced by Stephen Duffy at Splendid Studios, but was never released. Bay Area music bible BAM Magazine named one of the tracks, “Mrs. Bentley,” one of the “20 Best Songs in the Bay Area”and put it on a compilation CD that got radio airplay. Around November was also invited to play a gig at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.

In the end, Around November was not to be. Trent pulled up stakes for Washington, and William stayed in his hometown of Oakdale to record some tracks with a few of his ex-Psychodome bandmates. However, the love of his life – San Francisco – was beckoning and he packed up and headed for the city lights.

In 1996, he became a member of Bay Area club mainstay the Happy Regrets, joining bassist Joel Lopez, Chris Dugan (who went on to engineer for Green Day) and Lenny Gill (who would play a significant role in William’s musical future in the Bye Bye Blackbirds). The Happy Regrets toured throughout the Northwest and California and recorded a self-released album. The band parted ways in 2000 due to career and family priorities.

William hit the books and finished college while maintaining a prolific pace in songwriting.

In 2005, he released a dark, synth-laden California pop album called The Ghost That Would Not Be, which garnered great reviews, college radio play and worldwide sales. William was finding his place as a songwriter and producer, with heavy influences by the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson and producer extraordinaire Curt Boettcher.

2005 also saw the release of Honeymoon by the SF-based Bye Bye Blackbirds. William played bass, and sang lead and harmony. The album was produced by Beulah’s Bill Swan and received major airplay on KFOG and several college radio stations.
In 2007, the Bye Bye Blackbirds were signed to American Dust Records and released the Apology Accepted EP, followed by Houses and Homes in 2008. Houses and Homes was the Blackbirds’ finest hour, with the band at its creative best. William had a hand in producing the album and contributed more songwriting than he had for any of their previous works.

The Blackbirds toured throughout 2008 and racked up more mainstream and college radio play. The band sang on Miles Kurosky’s The Desert of Shallow Effects, and William lent his voice to two albums by the East Bay’s Midway Delta. He also reunited with Stephen Duffy to co-produce an album by That Man Fantastic.

In late 2009, William left the Blackbirds. He poured his heart and soul into a new solo album and secured a record deal with the New Jersey-based Kool Kat Music label. The Sunrise and the Night – a culmination of William’s creative evolution as a songwriter and producer – was released in June 2010.

Beyond the obvious dichotomy in the title The Sunrise and the Night, the album’s inspiration comes from the discovery and loss of various relationships over the years. The title track deals with a dream William had about a country drive – with a childhood friend who has slipped into drug addiction – as the night treads into the quiet, melancholy hours before dawn.

The Sunrise and the Night is arguably William’s finest work, calling on influences ranging from the Beach Boys and Big Star to ELO and Bread. He continues to spend as much time as humanly possible writing songs, performing and working on his next album.



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