One of the great obscure home-recording singer/songwriters of the 1990s, Bill Foreman crafted amazingly vivid and surreal narratives, roughly grounded in a sound that was equal parts garage-band groove and quiet folkiness. Still, Foreman's greatest gift may lie in his ability to create albums around a set of songs that stand independent of each other as separate units yet fit together amazingly well.
Growing up a short drive from San Diego, Foreman's musical vocabulary was grounded in a childhood of listening to Johnny Cash and the Beatles, though his earliest musical experiences would come as a drummer for a jazz combo while still in high school. Eventually studying with classical guitarist Fred Benedetti, Foreman would go on to teach himself piano, mandolin, banjo, penny whistle, and bass -- all of which he employs in his highly eclectic and organic sound. As the influence of Bob Dylan is readily apparent in Foreman's songwriting, his voice having a very similar quality, he also takes considerable influence from the styles of James Joyce and Russian novelists Nikolai Gogol and Venedikt Erofeev. Having earned a master's degree in Modern Russian History, Foreman writes from a uniquely historical viewpoint, mixing modern and traditional metaphors to create profoundly imaginative and somewhat abstract stories that toy with notions of reality and perception. Having passed through a variety of bands, including Falling Rock, the High Plains Drifters, Lunchmeat, the Little Band, and Here Comes Everybody (with Matt Nathanson), Foreman worked extensively with kindred spirit Peter Giuliano in both Bill & Pete and the House Carpenters. The two would start General Ludd Music in 1995, and Foreman would release his solo debut, a set of songs recorded on a cassette recorder over the span of a few hours, entitled The Bathroom Mirror. Also released in 1997 was a collection of four-track recordings made between 1991 and 1994 called Tangerine. A Long March Through the Clubs, Colleges and Cafes followed, devoted to live recordings from 1991 to 1997, which in addition to tracks from the last House Carpenters live show, features the only known recordings of Lunchmeat and the Bill and Pete Orchestra. The brilliant The Duck Hunter would follow in 1998, with the similarly excellent Building St. Petersburg being released in 1999. By 2000, due to his not being altogether comfortable with the self-promotion required to book gigs, Foreman performed live infrequently and began the process of assembling a loose collective of friends for a backing band while recording tracks for his next project. ~ Matt Fink