So that led me on a search for Bill’s old band. No dice on The Mice, but I did track down a couple of Bill’s solo albums, Shelter from the Smoke and Transit Byzantium, two lo-fi gems (recorded at home in four-track splendor, no less) from the late ‘90s on SpinART Records. These are in the folk-pop vein, but the chiming guitar runs (acoustic this time) and effortless melodicism are still very much intact. There’s the semi-expected Dylan influence, too, including surrealistic choruses and the occasional harmonica solo, but at least he does it well, and these songs are far better than average in their lyrical heft. And did I mention the melodies?
I love these kinds of discoveries. Last I heard, Bill Fox works a late-night telemarketing gig at The Cleveland Plain Dealer, performs rarely and reluctantly, and has a noted antipathy toward publicity. Imagine, a guy who writes songs because he likes to write songs. What a concept. So pretend you didn’t read this. But for what it’s worth, the man has made some of the best music I’ve heard this year, twelve years too late.