Every bird watcher is familiar with the wren- a songbird that’s disseminated extensively over the Northern Hemisphere. The wren is known for the splendid timbre it emits, ascending and plunging in a tuneful array. However, there exists a special type of melodic ‘wren’ that has migrated from Texas to Michigan- and back again! His name is Bill Wren and he composes exquisite melodies that flow in unbounded fashion from his heart to an ever-growing number of fans. Bill is an award-winning songwriter and musician who enjoys watching others take pleasure in his compositions. This is the story of the flight of one rare Texas songbird- Bill Wren.
A Hatchling in Corpus Christi
Bill Wren was born at the US Naval base in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1951. By the time he could walk he was already focused on music. Bill says, â€œMy grandparents took me to a college football game. They took me to see the marching band up close and I was deeply movedâ€¦ it was then that the spirit of muse entered me.â€ With his father in the Navy, Bill’s family moved often, spending time in California, and settling for a while in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Bill spent his formative years in Ypsilanti, and it would be there that the muses would take a permanent hold on his life as a young, musical â€œhatchling.â€
Beatles Invade the Wren’s Nest!
Bill was fourteen when he saw The Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan show. It wasn’t long before he purchased a bass guitar at a local music store and learned to play. Bill answered a newspaper ad looking for a bass player and joined his first band called The Unspecified. The bandâ€™s lead guitarist, John Santuci, sounded almost identical to John Lennon and The Unspecified became very popular in the Ann Arbor area. In 1964, while still in high school, Billâ€™s band performed the Fab Four’s â€œDay Tripperâ€ in a regional battle of the bands competition. The screaming audience went wild and it was in that moment Billâ€™s world changed forever. Bill would spend the next fifteen years performing in Rock bands that stretched from Ann Arbor, Michigan to central Texas. The Beatles were just one band that had an enormous influence on him, and he knew what he wanted to do with his life the very moment four Beatles invaded the Wren’s nest!
A Migration and Transformation
It wasn’t long though before his home state of Texas beckoned Bill back and by the time he was seventeen he was married and living in Waco, Texas. The Wren had migrated south, but he continued to play bass in and around central Texas. When Bill turned thirty he put down the bass and left music for the business world. While he was running his business, he decided to learn acoustic guitar and how to finger pick. Bill wrote his first songs, â€œShips of Woodâ€ and â€œPrisonerâ€ soon after. Upon retiring recently, he decided to build a little music studio and his songwriting became more of a focus. Bill says, â€œA very funny thing happened and the songs just started flowing!â€ After a twenty-five year detour through the business world, Bill returned to music but he was now much more than a bass player- he was a songwriter. It had been a long migration and a prolific transformation.
A Style in Flight
Bill’s musical style focuses on the desire to move people with emotion. Bill explains, â€œI want to create music that moves the human heart in a positive direction.â€ His compositions stem from life experience and are an extension of stylistic foundations laid by other musicians in other genres. Wren loves to mix Jazz, Blues and Rock, but adds warmth and sophistication with the sounds of Orchestra music. Bill owes this development of style not to The Beatles, but to the Moody Blues. Bill points out their influence, â€œThey were the ones that introduced me to mixing blues and rock with orchestra music something that has stuck with me and have been my favorite group since 1972.â€ Wrenâ€™s melodies are soothing, smooth, and flow easily with Zen-like tranquility. They reflect Bill’s belief that â€œLife is hardâ€¦ so just breathe, breathe, breathe.â€ Bill is able to capture and display melodic menageries formed from a calm collision of acoustic piano, guitar, bass and gentle percussion. They come from his heart, and speak to one’s soul. Moody and mellow soundscapes emerge from complex and soaring melodies with a subtle hint of influence from the sixties. Bill’s gift is an ability to blend genres seamlessly with melodies that take off into the sky- and there is a style in their flight!
One Day in a Life and Ships of Wood
In 2009, Bill Wren released his debut album, One Day in a Life. The project was a perfect display of his fusion of genre. The success of the album began long before it was released as many of the songs charted at #1 or in the Top 10 on SoundClick.com and Broadjam.com. The success of One Day in a Life was due to a trio of talent behind the scenes. The first in this trio is Frank Ralls with his brilliant arrangements and production. Further arrangement was completed by the gifted musical prowess of Terry Winch and Ike Sturm. It’s the professional work of these three pros that bring Wren’s compositions to life with their flawless harmonic/rhythmic structure and polished production. Currently Ralls, Winch and Sturm are working on a Billâ€™s new album entitled, Ships of Wood. Singles from the upcoming album have already won awards such as: The Indie International Songwriting Contest, and the UK International Songwriting Contest.
Feathers in His Cap – A Destiny
Today, Bill only performs informally with a few old high school buddies; Dr. Steve Harris and Hiram Solis. They were the core of a Texas band called Destiny and shaped Bill’s creative future as well. Both Steve and Hiram helped Bill learn the acoustic guitar and encouraged his return to music. Bill owes a great deal to these two lifelong friends that are the wind beneath his wings. Without their help Bill may have missed his calling. Each new song Bill composes is just another feather in his cap. Each new melody is another mile towards a destiny in the flight of one rare Texas songbird- Bill Wren.