Where the picture in his head came from, billy s isn’t sure.
As a kid, he remembers seeing himself on a large piece of wood and people shouting his name.
“Maybe I saw it on TV,” said the musician and artist who prefers the lowercase version of his name. “But TV was black and white back then.”
The piece of wood was actually a stage, and billy was playing and singing his songs to a crowd gathered. The rocker who has played with bands such as Impulse Ride as well as his own band saw that vision fulfilled as he sang in front of people who’ve shouted out his name, wanting more music.
His musical inklings came out as a teen. He wanted a guitar, but his friends told him he needed to play bass instead mainly so they could play the lead, he said. Off he went to Jay’s Music Store.
“I got home with a bass, and I wrote my first song in 15 minutes,” said billy, who was 17 at the time.
Since then, he’s written hundreds of them and plans on releasing some new material soon.
Called Nevermore, that first song had five verses and was based on the Edgar Allan Poe poem The Raven. That’s three minutes a verse, he added.
While he may have started with a bass, he did get a guitar, and he taught himself how to play, just as he taught himself to paint.
He tried to take music lessons, but that didn’t go well, he recalls.
“You’ve got to learn how to read the music,” said his first piano teacher. billy relayed.
But billy had already formulated in his head the how three fingers on the keyboard made chords.
“I saw the 1-3-5,” he said of the position of the fingers. “I learned the 1-3-5.”
Formal music lessons didn’t last long, but his passion for music did as has his rocking with area bands.
The newest material is raw, simpler – in that it’s just him, his voice and his guitar, bringing his heartfelt messages to the listener uncluttered.
billy’s life is that way too.
“I’m the most free human being,” he said.
Part of that freedom comes from an unwavering faith. He doesn’t allow the cares of life weigh him down. Life may bring its trials, fears and worries, but billy doesn’t let them consume him.
“I’ve seen what fear does a lot to people, and I don’t want to participate,” he said.
Instead, billy chooses to walk in love and peace, giving that same message to the residents of North Augusta in a mural he painted on the side of the Beveled Edge, 526 Georgia Ave.
The main art is a two-fingered peace sign making the “v” in love. It’s simple on the surface but there’s more if you take a second look. Within the swirly border are other words for people to find. Some words he deliberately placed there, but he finds that other people have seen words that he didn’t necessarily intend. Yet they saw them nonetheless.
One person saw “do you love me for me?” billy said.
billy frequently appears around town at festivals and outdoor events. Some of his paintings are on display during the month of August at the 600 Broad Gallery. Find his music here.
Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at email@example.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.
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