|Golden Sun Records, Bill Stix & The Revenuers
Of course we know it's possible to combine audio and data on one CD, but other than an additional videoclip on an audio CD, it's not used very often yet in the music business. Vitaminic takes full advantage of the possibilities and on Bill Stix' new CD, all tracks are available in audio format (to play on any regular CD player) as well as the very popular computer format MP3. Bill's CD is listed under "Country Swing" at Vitaminic. This is not quite correct, but it wouldn't be correct either to list it under "rockabilly" or "rock & roll". Bill mixes country, twang, western swing and blues with rockabilly and rock 'n' roll.
Bill Stixrud was born in Minneapolis Minnesota to a Norwegian - Lutheran - Minneapolis father and Irish - Catholic - St. Paul mother, thereby becoming a perfect composite of the Twin Cities population of the time (1958). His musical talent was first noticed when he became part of the Sixth Grade Choral Group at Central Elementary School in the village of Richfield MN. Bill - or as his classmates called him "that weird fat guy" - began playing guitar in High School and showed a talent for home recording, which was fortunate, as no one really wanted to play with him. As with so many things in his life, Bill had to settle for playing with himself. Any chance for a real career in music was dealt a devastating blow when Bill faced a serious addiction problem in the early 80's - sadly, like so many young people then, he became "hooked on phonics", though he seems to have become "clean and slobber" in recent years.
Bill's main influences came from a variety of all time great musicians - Bob Wills, Les Paul, Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, Chuck Berry, Luther Perkins, Eddie Cochran, Bo Diddley, Roland Janes, Carl Perkins, Hank Snow, to name but a "few". Having a hard time getting his music published by regular record companies, Bill turned to Vitaminic, by way of the internet, to get his home recordings out to the outside world. Now all he needs is promotion and therefor he opened his own website and sent his new CD to yours truly to have it reviewed.
Bill Stix is an excellent musician and songwriter (he wrote all songs himself), his home recordings sound quite professional, and I enjoyed listening to this CD, although it's not rockabilly. The first track "Western Movie Theme" is precisely what the title implies, it could be used as the soundtrack for any western movie. The title song "Golden Sun Records" is a country song (and not Sun rockabilly!) that tells the story of Bill's youth and how he was thrilled to listen to the old Sun records.
Now here's a quote for you: "Rockabilly is dead, so I must be a ghost!". Let me tell you gang, there must be a lot of ghosts on this planet, because rockabilly is alive and kicking, especially on this rocking track with some great lead guitar solo wizardry. "And don't you let that disco in my sight..." Way to go Bill!
The blue grass influenced "Cousin Claude" shows another side of Bill's music abilities and the twangy ballad "Olga" reflects his vocal capabilities perfectly. Next is the instrumental train song "Dan Patch Electric Line", followed by "Sonic Blues", a bluesy lap steel instro. "Bonjour mes Amis" is another of Bill's special mixes, country-cajun would be a good description. "I'm Not Normal" is an authentic (and maybe auto-biographic) blues song and the last track on the album is another instumental that reminds of the early sixties guitar music like Santo & Johnny.
As mentioned before, this is not a rockabilly or rock 'n' roll album (except for "Rockabilly Ghost"), but it is the effort of a 50s music fan by heart to get his sound out to the rest of the world. Lets give Bill Stix a shot at his 15 minutes of fame...
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2001