Full of humour, Telecaster twang, and serving up heaping portions of rock and roll, country, boogie-woogie and Western swing, 'Word to the Wise' features duets with nearly a dozen guest artists Kirchen's met along the way (see track list below). It includes masterpieces old and new, such as Roger Miller's classic "Husbands and Wives," a new Dan Hicks/Bill Kirchen co-write (the title track, "Word to the Wise,") and Kirchen's powerful rocker, "Man in the Bottom of the Well," sung unforgettably by Elvis Costello.
"I wanted to do an album with people I share a musical connection with," Bill says. "I've worked with all of these people: I recorded with Nick Lowe, I've gigged with Elvis Costello, and with Maria Muldaur and Dan Hicks back in the day."
'Word to the Wise' also features a new classic with Commander Cody on piano: "I Don't Work That Cheap" is a surrealistic romp through history that recalls the psychedelic spirit of Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues," concluding with the memorable line, "You can't pay me what I'm worth - I don't work that cheap." Merle Haggard’s Shelly’s Winter Love is a more conventional duet, but Kirchen opts to get out of the way as Lowe and Carrack blend their burnished voices on it in the classic Everly Brothers manner.
"The last thing I’m gonna do is get up and sing with Paul Carrack and Nick Lowe," Kirchen says with laugh. "It’s not gonna happen. That song just marched up to second position on the album. The way those two guys go toe-to-toe is just sublime."