Featured this week on the Not Just Jazz Network is vocalist/recording artist Laura Pursell, with her new single “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground”, from her new CD “Lost In Time (A Tribute to Bill Pursell)".
“Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” from the new CD “Lost In Time (A Tribute to Bill Pursell)", is a promise and vision fulfilled, of pianist /composer Bill Pursell by his daughter Laura Pursell.
This is a human-interest story of a father and daughter's musical journey, after 20+ years of recording. “Being the daughter of Julie and Bill Pursell was a gift from the creative heavens and a challenge”, says Laura.
Performing and recording with her father garnered a newfound father/daughter relationship on the fast track. It was a family affair - Laura’s uncle Raymond Clawson produced all of the recordings in Nashville, and her mother assisted in creating a cavalcade of performances.
“Netcom Music is pleased to announce the release of our newest album, 'Lost in Time'. This album represents the grand finale for my brother Bill Pursell’s career in collaboration with his daughter and my niece, Laura Pursell. I am so proud of both of them and honored to have worked with them and been a part of this process,” says executive producer, Raymond Clawson.
Growing closer as musical colleagues, friends, and collaborators, they had a few artistic differences, but Laura always relied on her father's direction. They covered it all from radio interviews, live appearances, and a local news talk show (KCAL) in LA.
In 2018, Julie Pursell heartbreakingly passed away from vascular dementia. Bill transferred his grief into words and music, which then became the beginning of their final album together. Tunes were chosen and Bill began writing arrangements.
This project was very important - it was his personal tribute to his wife Julie. In August 2019, they went into The Tracking Room with Steve Mauldin and a rhythm section to cut three new tracks: “Sweet Dreams”, “Motherless Children” and an original composition he wrote for Julie, “Lilacs (Lost in Time)”.
In 2020, the pandemic hit, and they had no idea when they’d be back in the studio, but Bill continued to sporadically work on the arrangements nonetheless.
In August 2020, Bill Pursell was horrifyingly diagnosed with Covid, and after a fierce, brief battle, he died less than a month later, on September 3rd, at the age of 94. The day before he died, Laura promised him she would finish the album that they had begun.
“This was our last album, and Dad knew it. He poured his heart into these arrangements and he wanted it to be our best. The fact that he died before we could finish it together was heartbreaking. So, the gravity of this unfinished business, as well as my father’s legacy, has been weighing on me for 2-1/2 years. I can finally exhale. And as I release it to the Universe, I hope Dad can hear it”, says Laura.
“Laura was determined to dig in and streamline what needed to be done to make this promise a reality, her tenacity in keeping its heartbeat alive was driven by love and acceptance. Being involved with this project was a gift of love, it oozes from the glorious string movements to the soulful rendering of Laura’s vocals. It truly was a family affair to witness such profound love and a vision realized”, says Jaijai Jackson of the Not Just Jazz Network.
The next phase of the Pursell musical offerings is not only an active record label, Netcom Music to continue to thrive, but to release a collection of music outlining the many wonderful projects of both Bill and Laura’s musical journey. In mid-spring, Laura steps forward with her upcoming single “Shooting Star”.
Bill Pursell, a legendary pianist, composer, arranger, and Music Row sideman to Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Chet Atkins, Marty Robbins, and more. He was a colorful individual. He was a musical genius, an educator, a bohemian, and a storyteller with an Irish sense of humor - a man of many moods who expressed himself best through music.
Although he was best known for his instrumental hit “Our Winter Love” in 1963 (Columbia Records) and for his Music City contributions, he preferred to be remembered for his symphonic work, including his "Piano Sonata No. 2", and "The Heritage Symphony" (the only symphony ever written and performed for the city of Nashville).
In the hope that his vision has been realized, and with the support of all the musicians who worked with him over the years (and who returned to complete this project), what once began as a tribute to Laura’s mother turned out to be a tribute to both of them.
To learn more, be sure to visit Laura Pursell’s new website at http://laurapursell.com and check out her feature on the Not Just Jazz Network at http://notjustjazznetwork.com