Bill Rotella, a singer-songwriter from Ventura County, California, recently released ‘Do Me Good’, the first single from his 15th album ‘Home’ (Release date 9/1/22). ‘Home’ is a collection of 10 songs that feature some of Bill Rotella’s, aka ‘Smoke’, most diverse songwriting.
Bill Rotella didn’t have to go far to find his musical inspiration. He was exposed to exceptional musical talent within his own family. Hearing his father’s songs sung by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin and his dad’s saxophone and woodwinds on Steely Dan and Frank Zappa albums, listening to his Uncle’s famous arrangements for the Glenn Miller Band, hearing his mother’s classical piano and his sister’s flute in concerts and films, he was being fed a steady diet of great music from great musicians. He was inspired. But it would be a few years before he began to write or perform. He first played drums but it didn’t allow him to write and sing the music he was beginning to hear. It wasn’t until college, when Bill put down the drumsticks and picked up a guitar, that he began writing his own music. Now, 4 bands and 14 albums later, Bill Rotella’s 15th album, ‘Home’ will be released this Fall.
Born in the San Fernando Valley, just north of Los Angeles, Bill was drawn to the lyrics and sounds of post-Dylan folk music. The L.A music scene was ripe for bands and his first band Baywood became popular. They played the college circuit and clubs, where he learned much about the road and the music business and began to develop as a songwriter. A decade later he formed the band Dakota, a band he would write for and lead for 20 years. During this time he evolved as both a writer and a performer, performing over 100 shows a year. As so often happens with singer-songwriters in an ensemble, he began to feel the confines of a band. Unencumbered as a soloist, and with a duo Amber & Smoke, he began writing songs at a prolific pace releasing 6 albums in 6 years.
In 2021, Bill put together a great ensemble of friends and non-touring musicians, who were grounded from Covid, for his ‘21 release “Smoke & The Earthtones”. That quarantine band and the album received great reviews. The following year Bill gravitated back to his troubadour roots. “I take great joy in standing up there, just me and my guitar. No song lists, no tracks or loops, no assistance from computers or music stands. Nothing between my eyes and the audience. Nothing between my voice and their ears. It’s what first attracted me to my favorite music from the singer-songwriters. What you see is what you get. It’s raw ...and it feels genuine”
The collection of 10 new songs on his upcoming release ‘Home’ reflects a singer songwriter’s bare truths… of his life’s journey. “Home” is a diverse collection of songs. They could be considered a departure for Bill, and that suits him fine. He was versed in musical diversity and different times brought us different rhymes.