Amazing. Phenomenal. Unbelievable. These are the adjectives most commonly used to describe the Singer/Guitarist from New Mexico, whether they are talking about his voice, or his guitar playing. Now in his fourth year as a Solo Performer on the National stage, Bat leaves quite an impression wherever he plays. Bat grew up in Zion, IL, a little North of Chicago on Lake Michigan’s shore where Illinois becomes Wisconsin. His brother Steve and he started playing bluegrass tunes on banjo & guitar when Bat was eight years old. Singing around the campfire & entertaining at family parties was a typical occurrence for the boys. The family moved to New Mexico around the time Bat was in High School, and meeting other musicians with largely different styles gave him a whole new world of influences to practice on and draw from. A musical sponge, Bat soaked up every note of these new sounds and began applying them to his music. Bat wrote his first compositions as a teenager, one of which, ‘Playground’ has been recognized Internationally and is currently used in rotation on Jazz radio stations in the USA. In addition to guitar & banjo, Bat learned to play drums, piano, and bass. After high school he easily found enough work as a Bass player to keep him employed (as well as simultaneously doubling on the keyboards) for the next 20 years. He spent a period of time hitchhiking across the US and ultimately landed in San Francisco, where he began polishing his amazing ability to cover almost anything from the Rock, Folk, Country, Soul, Metal and Oldies catalogues, playing on the wharf there for tourist tips. 1986 Bat met Brenda while in New Mexico, and they were married. They raised three children in the Rio Rancho and Albuquerque area. Looking for a way to serve his country, Bat began a series of letters to the United States Department Of Defense, and after a year of being directed to this office and that, found himself in a traveling position as an entertainer for US Troops overseas for all branches of US Armed Forces, performing what most people know as USO shows for active duty forces in bases all over the world. Bat has performed for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Ambassadors and Statesmen not only for the US but also the Emissaries of many lands in over 50 countries. One year became nearly ten, and the touring went on without letup until 2002. Once the Second Gulf War had started, the USO schedule became too choked with Celebrities wanting to go to Iraq to be with the Troops, that Bat decided to leave that Arena to the big shots, and go home for a while. During all this time of travel and performing with bands, Bat had become the lead singer in the ensembles he was performing with and, gifted with an incredible voice range, learned to use it in every style, learning to copy with uncanny accuracy the vocal tone & style of the greatest of singers from Journey to Johnny Cash. Touring non-stop, audiences are still awed nightly by his unbelievably versatile voice. Returning home and performing much less, Bat found other work for a time in a number of ways, but mostly helping Brenda to run her advertising Business in Albuquerque. After a couple of decades of National and International performing, Bat felt he was done with the music business and told Brenda that he was ready to get out. Brenda, however, had other ideas. The children having grown up and moved away, Brenda was eager to get out on the road and see the country. She convinced Bat to pick up his old 12-string guitar again, and take a run at the music business as a solo guitarist, and she, his manager. What can I say?’ admits Bat. “She was right.” Bat returned to his guitar playing with an intensity that was unstoppable. In all the years of bass playing, Bat had always been practicing on the guitar and doing solo gigs here & there, but now turned his attention to the instrument with a vengeance. Practicing day & night, Bat wrote & recorded the first solo CD “Waiting For Zavala” on only two instruments- 12 String Guitar and voice. The result is what he refers to as “Heavy Folk.” Most others call it acoustic music on steroids. The guitar playing is flashy and impressive, and the melodies are beautiful. Catchy tunes that stick in one’s mind immediately, while studiously avoiding the sound of typical pop radio formula songs. The second CD “Digital Sculpture” takes folk music to a whole new level. While still recorded strictly with acoustic guitar & voice, the production is more lavish with vocal arrangements and percussion sounds- all of which are produced from drumming on the guitar body in various ways. Digital sculpture features Bat’s Magnum Opus for acoustic guitar called “Last Stand In Texas’; a three-movement masterpiece of 12 String guitar virtuosity that leaves the audiences standing in the aisles at the shows. This is the current CD that Bat is touring in support of. Bat has been touring North America solo now for 3 years from Coast to coast in the USA & Canada. The CDs have been acclaimed worldwide, and have been featured on television shows in Europe. He has been awarded back-to-back songwriting grants from ASCAP for his compositions, and the performances of them. The next CD “Guitar Pieces” will be released in early 2015, and will be an entire volume of instrumental compositions for Solo Guitar, which will include, in addition to his world renowned 12-String playing, pieces for standard 6-string, and compositions on nylon string classical guitar. The songs themselves range in style from one to another. Bat uses his knack for versatility generously, covering ground from Big Band Jazz to Country, Doo Wop to Rock. He does not like to have two songs of a similar style on the same CD, and is always searching for a melody better than the one before it. The lyrics are intelligent and sometimes silly, but always poetic & thoughtful. The guitar arrangements while obviously very difficult to compose and perform flow beautifully from his fingers and paint a rich atmosphere of sound and impression. Amazing Guitar, Incredible Voice, Absolutely Delightful Music.
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