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bass on Hell Yeah!, and we have been playing together for several years now and he and Eric Aceto are two of the guys I work with the most. I wanted that trio of Doug, Eric and myself to be the center of the project.

At SXSW this past March I ran into Ken Stringfellow. I showed him a couple of the new songs and told him what I was trying to do. Ken produced three of the new tracks. The Unexplainable Billy Eli should be out in late 2012 or early 2013. There will be some advance copies as early as November, 2012. I have several songs on this record that I think are standouts. Overall it's a bit more serious, and while I wrote a couple of just good time raving songs, the content is a bit darker. The songs are a little more personal to me than on my previous recordings. This is also the first time I've ever put cover songs on a record. I worked up a nice duet arrangement of “Right In Time” by Lucinda Williams and got Rosie Flores to sing it with me. I also recorded Peter Wolf's “Nothing but the Wheel” with Alana Amram, as well as “Just to Satisfy You” by Waylon.

My thinking on recording the covers was that I had written an album that I really liked, and rather than write three slapdash filler tunes, just pick a few songs that I really like from other artists.

Will you be touring in support of the release?

I will be touring to support the record. I’ve been playing a majority of my shows in the northeast especially in Upstate New York. With the new release I hope to start working the Midwest and south on a regular basis. I’ve changed my outlook on touring in the last year though. Before last year I focused on venues where I could use a full band. Then about a year ago a friend of mine asked me why I didn’t do more solo gigs being that I was writing songs that played pretty well in a solo format. I got to thinking about it and after the most cursory of looks I noticed that if I start- ed playing some solo shows that I had a lot more venue possibilities, so I booked a couple of small venues and was amazed at the reception I got. Since then I’ve been focusing more on solo shows

with the occasional full band gig. It’s something new for me but I’m digging it for the moment. I especially like that the audience attention is real- ly dialed in on the material.

When you play live do you do all original songs, or do you toss in some covers? If so, what are some of them?

Depends on the situation, but I usually play a few covers per show. There are so many great songs that I like to play and playing a few covers that I like is a good way to get to know my audi- ences a little better. I get the chance to show them what songs I like and how that has influ- enced my songs.

It’s a great way to gauge your audience, feel ‘em out, see what they like. I have told several people that your singing kind of reminds me of Jason from Jason & The Scorchers. Did you like that band by chance?

I’m a huge fan of Jason & the Scorchers. “Shop It Around” was another of those songs that just grabbed me by the throat as was “Telling White Lies,” and of course Broken “Whiskey Glass.” What a dark song.

My favorite. That was one of the band’s my college buddy Clark Nicholson turned me on to. So besides the new record, what are your immediate and future plane? Any product branding? Oh, never mind, there was already a Billy Beer once - I forgot. Uh - anyway - current and future plans. Well I’m writing that memoir. I have no idea how that’ll turn out.(Laughs) I’m trying to go forward as more of a songwriter and I think I may charge head first into some of the southern rock we’ve talked about. If I hit it head on maybe I can fall sideways into something that’s between Americana and traditional southern rock. That’s all ahead of me tho. I’m looking forward to seeing the release of The Unexplainable Billy Eli and what response it gets. •

Billy Eli Photos © by Ashley Brown 23

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