“Whithering Soul” by Bill Fox
Cleveland singer-songwriter Bill Fox is a bit of a legend around these parts. Initially known as the frontman for the power-pop band The Mice in the mid ’80s, Fox would later make a name for himself on the strength of his two stripped down, acoustic albums for SpinArt Records (Shelter from the Smoke in ’97 and Transit Byzantium in ’98). His reputation would only grow when he was the subject of a feature article by Joe Hagen in the June/July 2007 issue of Believer magazine, where Hagen sought to find Fox and find out why he had given up on music upon the release of those albums. Of course, Hagen found no answers and Fox’s reemergence would be as swift and sudden as his initial retreat. He made a return to the stage three years back and has been steadily working the Cleveland clubs ever since.
“Whithering Soul,” is the first track to be featured from One Thought Revealed, his first album of new material since ’98, and for long time fans of Fox, it is a welcome treat, indeed. While his leathery voice is nearly identical to the one heard on those low-key tracks from the ’90s, the backing music frames him in an entirely different light. A vintage organ, one mired in mournful tones, gives “Whithering Soul,” a murky and distinctly Southern, psychedelic sound, as if this down-beat ballad was birthed in New Orleans and not Cleveland.
Fox’s One Thought Revealed can be pre-ordered on CD from Jar Note Records. I’ll have more information whenever it becomes available.