When people think of Billy Bob Thornton, it’s usually about his many movie and TV roles. 

Did you know that Billy Bob never wanted to be an actor? 

His first love while growing up in rural Arkansas was to play music. He learned drums at an early age and formed several bands around his hometown of Hot Springs. 

When his best friend, Tom Epperson, decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting and writing, Thornton decided to tag along. 

After all, there was a better chance of joining a band in Los Angeles than in Arkansas. 

To earn extra money for food and rent, Billy started going on a few auditions with Tom. During this time he played drums in the rock band Jack Hammer and recorded one album with them. By chance, he was cast with bit parts in low budget movies like South of Reno and TV episodes of Matlock. 

As his acting career took off unexpectedly, he put his music on hold. 

Finally, in 2001, he found time to record his first solo album, Private Radio. 

He would continue pursuing both acting and music for many years and founded his current band, The Boxmasters, in 2007 with friend J.D. Andrew. 

Their latest album, Speck, was released last month and is their most popular release so far. 

Thornton and his band have played our city twice before and I’ve had the opportunity to interview Thornton and Andrew. 

They are both totally committed to their band and to their music, in fact, while on tour with his band he rarely talks about his acting career. 

Tonight is their third time in our fine city and their debut performance at Gruene Hall.

Our own Tom Gillam will be opening the show. Get your tickets now for this show and for Josh Ward’s show on Saturday night at GrueneHall.com.

Seth James Lives The Good Life

Consider yourself very lucky if you happened to catch Seth James back in his early days playing at Gruene Hall with one of the hottest blues bands in Texas. 

His dad was on drums and Philip Tom played bass. They recorded a fantastic live album that remains one of my favorites to this day. 

Seth recorded several classic blues albums, like Bad Luck and Trouble in 2001 and That Kind of Man in 2009. In 2010 he joined forces with Cody Canada to form The Departed after Cross Canadian Ragweed broke up. 

Three years and two albums later he opted to focus on his solo career again. Seth and his wife Jessica are the dynamic duo of New Braunfels and in 2016 released their CD, Million Miles of Love that contained You Always Saw The Blue Skies and Sweet Lord. 

These two fan favorites are staples of his live shows. In a few weeks he will release a brand new album titled Good Life. It was produced by Kevin McKendree and recorded at the Rock House in Franklin, Tennessee. 

The album artwork was created by fellow singer songwriter Paul Thorn. Musicians on the new album include Bob Britt on guitar, Lynn Williams on drums, Steve Mackay on bass and Wendy Moten on background vocals. Horns for the album were provided by Jim Hoke on saxophone, Roy Agee on trombone and Vinnie Ciesielski on trumpet. 

The album includes a solid dozen Texas blues tracks that feature his powerful vocals and blistering guitar playing. My favorites are That’s How You Do It, Little Angel and It’s Not What You Eat But How You Chew It. Seth was heavily influenced by the blues so I asked him to list his top 5 favorite albums, ones that had a big impact on his music. 

They are Delbert McClinton & Glen Clark – Delbert & Glen; Muddy Waters – Hard Again; Paul Butterfield – Better Days; Frankie Miller – High Life and Tony Joe White – Homemade Ice Cream. Seth will be touring to promote the new album so go to his website at SethJames.com and sign up for email alerts. 

Kevin Galloway Plays Lonestar Floathouse

When the popular Americana band Uncle Lucius broke up last year, lead singer Kevin Galloway took the opportunity to pursue his long awaited solo career. 

His debut album, The Change, was an instant hit with fans and critics alike. On his first tour as a solo artist, he often performed the full album in its entirety. I did a few interviews with Kevin during this time and learned just how devoted he is to his craft. 

His outstanding lead vocals are what separated Uncle Lucius from the rest of the pack and they are in full display on the solo album. Kevin toured hard after the album was released, but has scaled back a bit on the road work. 

Now he’s opting for a string of solo acoustic shows that start this Sunday at the Lonestar Floathouse on River Road. It’s a free show and the music starts at 5 p.m. If you go, be sure to pick up a copy of his CD and put some money in the tip jar. Most musicians aren’t paid a lot of money for solo acoustic shows so the tip jar money often puts gas in their tank to get back home. 

Don’t forget about the great burgers and cold drinks at the Floathouse, it’s the perfect way to end your weekend. 

Celebrating Jerry Garcia & the Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead were one of the most popular bands to ever come out of California and their fanbase is just as strong today as it was back in the 60s. 

Known fondly as Dead Heads, fans would follow the group from town to town in huge caravans of cars and buses. The Dead were one of the first groups to allow fans to tape their concerts and share their music with each other. It’s safe to say that every concert they ever played was recorded by fans or the band themselves. 

Jerry Garcia, the leader of the band, was born today back in 1942 in San Francisco. He died on Aug. 9, 1995 at the age of 53 in a drug rehab facility in Forest Knolls, California. 

He struggled with drug addiction and severe diabetes most of his life. Beginning on Friday, Sam’s Burger Joint in San Antonio will honor the music of Jerry Garcia and Grateful Dead with a three day JerryFest featuring several tribute bands. Local musician Bryan Feltner plays in Minglewood, the group that starts things off on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s tribute band features Josh Pearson and his tribute to Phish and Grateful Dead. 

On Sunday the band will be Deadeye, Austin’s premier Grateful Dead tribute band. For information and tickets to these shows and many others, go to their website at SamsBurgerJoint.com.

 

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