Growing up with two blind parents, sound became extremely important in communicating and relating to one another. After growing up around music, he set it aside to pursue his education. William received his masters in counseling and worked as a psychotherapist for several years before turning to songwriting. He truly writes the kind of songs that most songwriters dream about; brilliant, heavy, complex and intensely personal…the songs are nothing short of breathtaking.
Charleroi is the second half of the Pittsburgh story. The Pittsburgh album was about the grandmother I knew. Charleroi is about the one I never did. My father was returned to the hospital as an infant, ill with whooping cough. He was left there for several months as an orphan. Finally, he was adopted by a kind doctor who became his father. Never knowing his birth family it was assumed that mystery would always remain. In 2015, after over 60 years of wondering and waiting, the family was finally found. Having been mistakenly told that my father died in infancy, he was never sought out by the remainder of his biological family. Sadly his mother passed away several years before having a chance to ever see her son again. Her name was Thelma and she was my grandmother. She was from Charleroi, Pennsylvania. These songs are about her.
Laura Burhenn (of The Mynabirds)
American singer-songwriter Laura Burhenn is a shape-shifter who can’t sit still. Since 2010 she’s worked under the moniker The Mynabirds, releasing three critically acclaimed and stylistically different albums on Saddle Creek: What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood (2010) and GENERALS (2012), both produced by Richard Swift, and Lovers Know (2015). She has also toured as a member of the Postal Service (2013) and Bright Eyes (2011), helped found Omaha Girls Rock (a non-profit helping young girls find their voices), and in 2013 gave a TED talk based on her “New Revolutionists” portrait project, exploring what it means to be a revolutionary woman in this day and age. Before the Mynabirds, Laura was a member of DC indie band Georgie James with Q And Not U’s John Davis, and also put out two self-produced solo albums on the label she founded herself, Laboratory Records.
Through all of her transformations, there’s one thing that remains constant: her voice. She’s been compared to Cat Power, Fiona Apple and Adele. And while her songs might show up dressed in new ways on each new release, they still very much embody Laura’s distinct songwriting style. “I’ve always been most inspired by the songwriter chameleons,” Laura says. “David Bowie, Harry Nilsson, PJ Harvey, Bjork. They play — with their arrangements, their tones, their personas. But when it comes down to it, every song could be strummed on guitar, or played alone at a keyboard. And at the heart of it, they’re storytellers.” Laura is setting out on a full US solo tour this fall, stripping all of her songs back to bare bones, the way they were originally conceived: just a piano and her voice.