4-song EP • 2022
“An EP that is promising and fully stylistic in composition as well as in spirit. Four great songs, plain and simple.”
"This thing is brilliant. Man alive!"
Cary Allen Fields
Host, Redbud Radio Hour
"It makes for a very nicely orchestrated record..."
4 songs • 19 minutes • Released 10.22
All songs written by Bill Price ©2022 Mr. Quill Music (BMI)
50 Miles from No Place
Be Nice or Get Out
Bringing Down the Sun
About the EP
In this, his ninth release, Kicking Angels expresses some of Price’s frustrations at the current state of affairs in the world, while keeping the music upbeat and energetic for the majority of the EP. Recorded at The Lodge Recording Studios in Indianapolis, Indiana, Kicking Angels represents both a look back and a continuation of the songwriting arc of Bill Price.
Musically, this EP is varied in style. The title track, “Kicking Angles” is country folk/rock. “50 Miles from No Place” has a rhythmic acoustic folk approach. “Be Nice or Get Out” harkens back to the 1960s and 70s while “Bringing Down the Sun” is more experimental in feel with its dreamy, atmospheric mood.
1. Kicking Angels
2. 50 Miles from No Place
3. Be Nice or Get Out
4. Bringing Down the Sun
About the Songs
The title track takes a critical look at the danger and hypocrisy of scapegoating. There are several historical references in the song, the most obvious being Abraham Lincoln’s use of the phrase “the better angels of our nature,” from his 1861 inaugural address. While the country faced a Civil War, Lincoln appealed to the nation not to see each other as enemies, but friends. “That message is just lost on so many of us now,” Price says. “And when people get angry and fearful, they tend to scapegoat groups of people. It’s dangerous as well as immoral.”
The second track, “50 Miles from No Place,” was written many years ago and was under consideration for Price’s With the Eye of a Skeptic… album. It was ultimately rejected because that particular record had a more hopeful and positive message to it. “That song was written in response to a particular person of great notoriety in my home state whose behavior was, by any rational assessment, unacceptable to say the least,” Price says. “Yet this person, due to their success and high public profile, not only got away with their behavior but also was idolized by so many people who continued to make excuses and rationalize this awful behavior. I found the whole phenomenon to be quite odd. Sadly, it’s not limited to this one person, nor is it new. It’s as old as humanity itself.”
Fortunately, most people are interested in a more respectful and civil society, and “Be Nice or Get Out” is about this very topic. You can have your opinions and strong disagreements, but in the public sphere, just be nice. If you don’t, be prepared to live with the consequences. Price explains, “I think sometimes that rational people just need to speak up and say, ‘Your behavior is not acceptable. If you want to be taken seriously, act like an adult.’”The last song, “Bringing Down the Sun,” is a lament on both scapegoating and those whose only goal seems to be to bring others down and to snuff out the light of hope and optimism.
Recording began in November of 2018. Michael Graham engineered, mixed and co-produced the recording. Overdubs continued throughout the pandemic, well into the middle of 2021. New ideas kept popping up. “We spent a lot of time on these four songs. I think we almost put the same amount of time into them as we might have a full album,” Price says. “There are a lot of parts, instruments and changes going on within these tracks. Even though I loved all the elements, at times I wondered if we had too much going on—whether Michael could even make the songs work, in terms of mixing,” Price recalls. “Well, he did an incredible job of making all of these parts not only sound great but work together in a way that makes the songs really fun to listen to.”
“Be Nice or Get Out” is a larger-than-normal production with several one-eighty turnarounds. The intro of the song initially had a raw, in-your-face drum beat with a full-out band coming in on the first verse. But all of that was eventually replaced by a quiet little string ensemble which then exploded into a driving power pop tune—only to take another complete change in direction into a country-style bridge, complete with pedal steel, compliments of Michael Clark. From there the song goes into a 1960ish vocal build up, giving way to the keyboard/guitar solo section before returning to the last verse and chorus. But wait, there’s more! As the final chords fade away, a dreamy vocal segue, provided by Sarah Grain, leads the listener into the final, atmospheric song, “Bringing Down the Sun.”
“It’s great fun to work with everyone to figure out all of these parts and arrangements,” Price says. “I felt the original beginning that we had for “Be Nice or Get Out” was a bit too obvious. So I thought that since the opening lyric is written slightly tongue-in-cheek to reflect a very formal invitation, why not have a very hoity-toity type of string part instead. A little, ‘tea time for the royal family,’ type of thing. Once we had that general idea, Grover came back in with his cello. Both he and Michael had ideas on how to structure that section, so together, they worked up that intro and backing part under the first verse. That completely changed the song and sent it off in a new and interesting way. It kind of opened the door and blew off the limitations.”
While Price has always designed the covers for his albums, he usually jobs out the photography or any illustrations, as his skill set is more design and layout versus illustration. This time was a little different. “The cover concept for this EP was pretty simple,” Price explains. “I wanted to have some image of an angel that was rendered in a raw and energetic way—to symbolize some degree of conflict or even violence. I thought, I should be able to do that. Although I’m not a painter, I do have some idea of what constitutes a good composition and I have a decent sense of color theory, etc. So I said what the heck. I’ll give this a try.
“I did several paintings that were just tests, really, but while they were acceptable, they didn’t really knock my socks off. I was thinking I could spend a lot of time on this, trying to get that perfect image. So I hit upon a simple solution. Since I was trying many different approaches, why not just use a series of little paintings instead of trying to get one, perfect one? It actually made more sense in that the different styles came to represent the diversity of people in our world. All of us are different, but there’s an angel somewhere within all of us”.
Price ended up with 62 four-inch by four-inch paintings and selected 28 for the cover and inside of the CD jacket. He says, “I had a blast doing those. Maybe I’ll keep the series going. They were very small and so they had to be simple, which was actually good for me, since I’m not really a painter.”
Produced by Bill Price and Michael Graham
Recorded mixed and mastered at The Lodge by Michael Graham
Michael Clark: Pedal Steel, Mandolin, Electric Slide Guitar
Chase Cotten: Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Background Vocals
Stasia Demos: Harmony Vocals
Sarah Grain: Harmony & Background Vocals
Paul Holdman: Electric Lead Guitar, Background Vocals
Bill Mallers: Hammond Organ, Accordion, Piano, Electric Piano, Harmony & Background Vocals
Grover Parido: Cello
Bill Price: Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitar, Cittern, Bouzouki, Mandotar, Cigar Box Guitar
Jamey Reid: Drums, Cajón
Jeff Stone: Electric Bass, Fretless Bass
By Cary Allen Fields 02.02.23
Host, WICR FM Americana/roots format program, Redbud Radio
My first impression of Bill Price’s latest EP Kicking Angels came courtesy of the arresting graphics. An inspired collection of small paintings resting side by side, each one more engaging than the next.
Turns out the visual introduction to this 4-song collection provided the perfect compliment to the well-crafted songs within. Songs that artfully balance righteous anger and unapologetic optimism. Each an extension of the concerns and struggles we all find ourselves subjected to here on the periphery of the shared political upheaval coloring the present day.
No off-putting preachiness or clichéd protestation though, rest assured. What we have here is an articulation of the frustrations we’re all feeling with poignant reminders of the solutions, obvious and otherwise. As a result, you may just come away feeling inspired. Hopeful.
Within the framework provided by Bill Price’s acoustic guitar work and lead vocal, harmony vocals, electric guitar, bass, pedal steel, mandolin, cello, organ, accordion, drums and horns complete the picture. The backing ensemble listed reads like a “who’s who” of names familiar to Indiana music fans, and the quality of the recording deserves mention as well. This project sounds as good as anything I’ve heard emanating from Nashville or the coasts.
Bill Price has amassed an impressive body of work in years past, and he’s been our well-kept secret for far too long. Can say with confidence that Kicking Angels will make it into more ears on the strength of its artistry.
By Valsam (rootstime.be) 01.08.23
American folk singer and songwriter Bill Price hails from Indianapolis, Indiana. He began his solo musical career in 2001 and in 2004 he debuted on record with the album Bones & Apples. Five years later in 2009, the acoustic folk rock record With The Eye Of A Skeptic followed. After that it became deafeningly quiet around Bill Price for seven long years, but in 2016 he resurfaced with a 33-song double album I Can’t Stop Looking At The Sky and in 2019 his five-song EP Digging Deeper Toward The Sky was released as the last “Sky” realization.
Now, however, we were sent his latest work in the form of a four-song EP called Kicking Angels, so named after the title song included at the very front of this disc. What immediately struck us about this mini album is that no fewer than ten musicians with a wide range of instruments collaborated in the studio to record these four songs written by Bill Price himself. It makes for a very beautifully orchestrated record that, in our opinion, is far too short, a feeling we often have with EPs.
So besides the title track “Kicking Angels,” we get to hear three other songs by Bill Price: the cajun-influenced number “50 Miles from No Place,” the gently rocking “Be Nice or Get Out” and the intimate folk ballad “Bringing Down the Sun.” Unlike his previous records that mostly featured hopeful songs, the lyrics of these four songs contain pent-up anger and frustration about everything that is wrong in American society, including the flawed president they had to experience from 2016 to 2020. So while we wait for a new full CD, we will have to make do with this mini album from Bill Price for a while in 2023.
By Micheles Kindh 12.19.22
Blaskan Swedish magazine/website
In January, this EP will be publicly released. But already I’ve seen it advertised on the artist’s own website. Four compositions that are both folk rock and a bit country gliding along with skilled co-musicians. An ep album that is promising and fully stylistic in composition as well as in spirit. Four great songs, plain and simple.
A perfect winter solstice album to listen to.
Musicbloggen 67 01.23
Equally Satisfied and Happy with a Very Good EP
Bill Price’s Kicking Angels arrived on 2023-01-13 and is an EP—his fourth. He has released four full-length albums previously, whereas I Can’t Stop Looking at the Sky is two CDs. Price says songwriting, recording and performing have always been important but creating something original is what drives him forward.
Kicking Angels is the third time I’ve reviewed Bill here at www.musikbloggen67.se Here I’ve been delighted with both the music and the lyrics. On Kicking Angels I am equally pleased and delighted with a very good EP. Songs to start with: All four!
Rated 4 out of 5
Bill Price is well-experienced musician, whose interesting sphere touches many different artistic fields. He is singer/songwriter, who performs solo and also with a band in different formats. He is based in Indianapolis, Indiana and has released four full length albums, three EP’s and two CD singles to date, with several more projects in the works.
He has performed in USA, Canada, and his works were recognized and broadcast also on European radio stations. Kicking Angels is an EP, with four tracks in different in genres, but all of the songs possess roots music/Americana/folk/country/country rock elements, evident more or less from case to case, from song to song.
Mr. Price possesses a pleasant voice. His recordings also reflect different arrangement aspects, and we can hear in his music, influences found both in the 70’s, and in the present day. The songs possess unique potentials and similar quality, where all the time there is noticeably safe, precise musicianship, an emotional approach, but also a slight lack of energy.