b. Hoboken, New Jersey, USA. Raised in a musical atmosphere, as a child Pistilli heard records at home, many of which were swing-era bands, while others were country’s western swing; he also admired Hank Williams. Pistilli began writing songs, usually in collaboration, and one of them, ‘Sunday Will Never Be The Same’, was a hit for Spanky And Our Gang in 1967. Pistilli’s liking for swing music led him, in 1969, to become co-founder, with Tim Hauser, of Manhattan Transfer, which also included Erin Dickens, Marty Nelson and Pat Rosalia. Although the group’s 1971 debut album was technically proficient, it was a commercial flop and they folded. When Hauser resurrected Manhattan Transfer and went on to international fame and fortune, it was without Pistilli, Dickens and Rosalia.
When Pistilli reappeared as a solo act, singing in a fluid baritone and playing guitar, he was intriguingly blending western swing with a mid-swing era singing style. Billed as ‘the Hoboken Saddletramp’, he built a dedicated if localized following. Among the songs on Pistilli’s 2003 debut are ‘I Still Get Dressed On Sundays’, ‘Waltz Across Texas’, ‘Stayin? Is The Only Way To Go’, ‘How The West Was Swung’, ‘Mexicali Rose’ and ‘Too Gone Too Long’, the latter a composition of his that was recorded by Randy Travis.