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Since I play with a lot of pickup bands, I've learned a couple of tricks that help ease the pain if I happen to draw some guys who are less than first call. If I get to a rehearsal and the band is - let's use the word challenging - these guidelines help me keep from stinking the place out. 1. Be able to break everything down into three basic styles. Country, standard 4/4 rock, and rockabilly.


2. Be able to play everything in the same key as much as possible.


3. Don’t expect to sound like a tight, well rehearsed band.That ain't gonna happen. (Laughs)


Rock Dreams question. Who would you like to work with that you haven’t yet? That would be a really long list. Mark Emerick is up near the top though. Since it’s a wish list I’ll add Warner Hodges from the Scorchers and Warren Haynes. You’ll notice I picked guys who are innovative guitarists known for style blend- ing.


Billy, how would you classify yourself as


an artist? Country? Americana? What? I've had a real epiphany since finishing the ses- sions for the new record. The epiphany is in regard to my genre classification. I've been called country, country rock, alt-country, roots rock, honky tonk, country folk, folk rock, honky folk, folky tonk, and americana. I've always described myself as “almost country.”


I've been compared to almost every artist who has a rootsy, rocksy, bluesy, folksy, swampy, country feel in their music.


I kind of went outside my norm on this new record thanks to the contributions of Ken Stringfellow. I wanted to make a songwriters record and Ken brought a different musical per- spective to the project. Since starting this new record I consider my genre to be “songwriter.”


Speaking of songwriting. Do you draw from your life or make the songs up? Tell me about your process. Title first? Melody of lyrics first? Or chord progression? The process is different almost every time. I have noticed that the songs that seem to come from some heightened inspiration come a little


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