If there’s any one musician who truly personifies that always ephemeral definition of Americana music, it’s Bill Kirchen, who founded what many consider to be the original Americana band, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen back in 1972. Blending together country, R&B and rock together, Kirchen has led a storied and rich career, including 30 years he’s spent collaborating with pub rock legend Austin de Lone. This August the two roots rock masters unite for an amazing new album recorded in Austin and London called Transatlanticana. By way of preview, “Hounds of the Bakersfield” is a song that Kirchen originally wrote as a tribute to Merle Haggard, a tune that’s timely again given Haggard’s recent passing.
Kirchen says, “Blackie Farrell and I wrote this tribute song to Merle, not guessing he would be gone a month after it was cut. The very first electric country music I found in the mid-‘60s was by Merle, Buck and Red Simpson, all stars of the Bakersfield country scene. The sound and vibe of those Capitol records still knocks me out, and that’s exactly why I got a Telecaster. We cut this with the UK crew: Paul Bassman Riley on bass (Chilli Willi, plus we played together in Nick Lowe’s band) and Malcolm Mills on drums. Austin [de Lone] of course appears on all songs no matter the longitude. Love this song, but not happy about living in a world with no Merle.”
Bill Kirchen and Austin de Lone’s new album Transatlanticana releases August 26th via Red House Records.