Born in Mississippi in 1943, VAN DYKE PARKS was a musical prodigy and actor who later became a session musician, composer, producer, arranger, lyricist, and singer. His own music is as cinematic, fantastical and even phantasmagorical as it is from the heart.
Best known for penning the lyrics to The Beach Boys’ legendary sixties masterpiece Smile, and collaborations with the likes of Joanna Newsom, Rufus Wainwright, and Inara George, the true riches of Parks’ talent lies in his first three solo albums, Song Cycle (1968), Discover America (1972) and Clang Of The Yankee Reaper (1975). This trio of acclaimed records defined Americana decades before the term was ever invented. An expansive Americana that didn’t merely tap the post-war roots in folk and country music that we expect from the genre, but an all-embracing vision that included ragtime, vaudeville, jazz, bluegrass, psychedelia, classical and calypso, unified by a singer-songwriter spirit as much in line with Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson as Park’s collaborator Brian Wilson.
In 2013 Van Dyke released his seventh studio album, Songs Cycled, on Bella Union. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California with his family.