William Pilgrim and the All Grows Up offer up a powerful blend of blues, folk, and roots rock that forms an emotional musical pastiche of a modern society fallen on hard times. William Pilgrim is the Alter-Ego of Ishmael "Ish" Herring, a talented young singer/songwriter whose own journey from the streets to the stage is truly miraculous. Ish's own life and experiences inspired the creation of William Pilgrim, named for the fatalistic optimist from Kurt Vonnegut's famous non-linear novel that explored fate, free will, and the often illogical nature of human beings.
Born in 1984 in Kansas City, MO to a drug addicted mother and a broken home, Ish Herring spent his childhood shuffling between numerous foster homes and later, lived on the streets and in New Orleans before eventually making his way to Los Angeles. He always found solace in music and taught himself guitar, piano and drums.The R&B and soul music Ish remembered fondly from his early childhood mixed easily with a diverse array of modern artists he heard and liked, ranging from R. Kelly and Matchbox 20 to Soul Asylum and similar popular alternative groups from the mid- and late-90s.
Despite being homeless in L.A., Herring still sought musical collaboration and William Pilgrim was born when PM Romero, an Orange County, CA-based songwriter/musician, answered his online ad offering vocal services for hire. The pair formed the fruitful musical partnership that would become William Pilgrim and the All Grows Up. A demo soon caught the attention of Orange County, CA-based label Moonlight Graham Records, which signed William Pilgrim & The All Grows Up and released their debut record, The Great Recession.
Ish Herring's gravelly vocals drive his songs with an intensity that harkens to a simpler time before music sampling and fancy studio effects. From the opening chords of "A Soldier's Tale," which recounts a young man losing his innocence as he transforms from a simple farm boy into a cynical soldier affected by the horrors of war, to an ironic message about rampant consumerism in the closing track, "Water When the Well is Dry," The Great Recession paints a multi-layered musical portrait of a frayed country whose people have fallen on hard times and long for stability, love and better days. "I wanted to make a record that came from the standpoint of the 80s generation, my generation, that was cast off," says Ish. "We were let down by society and our leaders in so many ways. The Great Recession takes the power of American roots music as tool of social consciousness and updates it for the 21st century but still makes it sound timeless and evokes a sense of nostalgia."
The band plans to further complement the upcoming release of The Great Recession with, House On the Hill, an insightful documentary film set for release in 2013 that explores the plight of homeless teens in Southern California. Prominent musical and social luminary Exene Cervenka of the legendary band X will add narration.