"The content just spilled right out of me," Bill Deasy says of his latest, "A Different Kind of Wild."
By Scott Mervis Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
On his new album, "A Different Kind of Wild," Bill Deasy comes out of the closet -- as a sentimental fool.
With gentle acoustic backing, he weighs in on modern times on the song "The World I Once Knew," singing, "Isolation/separation/everyone's a souped-up power station/send your message/no inflection/speed of light and going no direction." He ends it with "sentimental fools unite/we'll storm the city gates tonight."
"I think I am a bit of a sentimental fool," Deasy says. "I've been writing a novel that explores the question of culture and how much has really changed -- or is it me that's changed? Or the world? So I've had that stuff on my mind and I was messing with a different guitar tuning, so I just kind of caught the chord-groove thing on that song and the content just spilled right out of me."
It spilled out along with 10 other songs on "A Different Kind of Wild," another in a line of thoughtful and intimate records by the golden-voiced Pittsburgh singer-songwriter.
Deasy created all but one song completely by himself -- often working late at night -- giving the record a lonely and personal feel.
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"I guess as I get older I want to get less and less self-consciousness about it and get closer to the actual process of creativity as I can," he says. "It's almost like thinking out loud. It didn't edit myself. These are basically home recordings and I also had a new keyboard, and I also barely play piano but I forced myself to play these keyboard parts and it started to have a sound I liked and a simplicity I liked. It started to sound like a worthy collection of thoughts."
Deasy has always excelled in being a solitary, uplifting voice, and his spare, pretty production here is just right for songs like "Mystic Light," a rewrite of one of his older songs, and "New Understanding," which refers to the teachings of Jesus Christ and John Lennon.
"I think there's a spiritual hunger thing that's been in all my music," he says. "Because this is so stripped-down, it seems a little more naked or exposed."
People may be a little surprised by the haunting song "My Ohio," as Deasy is very much a Pittsburgher, born and raised, but it's a winner nonetheless.
"Just one night late at night, I started writing those lyrics, I can't even tell you what the story is. I've learned to just accept vagueness and ambiguity and leave it to the listener. That's one to figure out. There's no great back story. I was just trying to evoke a mood with lyrics that don't get in the way."
Less of a mystery is "I Will," a pure acoustic love song.
"I wrote that for my wife. I'd always played the Van Morrison song 'Sweet Thing,' one of the staples of my live show. I was sort of looking for something that would fit that mood -- sort of a love waltz kind of thing."
Although Deasy has a brood of children, he hasn't gotten around to those sentimental fatherhood songs.
"I had one where I mentioned my one son," he says. "I tend to shy away from that. It's taken me a long time to write about my wife. One thing at a time."