Since July, 2007 Bill Ring has
lived in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, playing clubs in
the Ithaca area with some of the area's best instrumentalists, including
Twy Bethard, fiddle queen of the local jam scene, jazz/Americana bassist
Joe Crum, and harmonica wiz Don Fenton. Playing together under the name
Ironwood, they combine country, folk, "unplugged" rock, and
folk blues in a style all their own. See the Ironwood
page for more information. See the Show
Announcements page for details of upcoming appearances.
In 2002, Bill 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
"The barn has the most incredible sound -
better than any studio I've ever worked in. The high ceiling and oddly
angled walls give it a natural ambience like nothing I've ever heard.
The first time I walked into the place I clapped my hands, listened to
the reverberation, and just about knocked the landlady down and forced-fed
her my deposit check.
"The completion of Still On My Mind
is the end of a creative and technical Odyssey that began with buying
my first guitar at age 16 and getting my first sound-mixing gig as roadie
for the Elephant's Memory in 1969. I've been writing songs, performing,
and engineering ever since."
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 this website.)
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. His
The latest edition of the band, featuring Joe Crum, Don Fenton,
Stacy Farina, Sue Spencer, and Dave Redmond. With special guests
Larry Real on dobro and Joe Hodes on lead guitar. Fifteen original
songs by Bill Ring, fourteen never released before. For more information,
here. Available from CDBABY.com.
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, 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. Available from CDBABY.com.
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, Jacques 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. Available from CDBABY.com.
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. Available from CDBABY.com.
Fingers: "Except for the Mehndi hand illustration
by Loretta Roome, this CD is an exercise in solipsism. What I could
play 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." 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
Available from CDBABY.com.
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. 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. Backup vocals
by Bonnie Burns and Constance Taylor. Folk/blues/country. Available
Country: With Sally Eaton and Peter Pasco. Many covers
with some originals. A few CD's exist, but very much a rarity.
If you REALLY have to have one, email Folksmith.
Virtually all acoustic, including a couple of a capella
numbers. Folk style.