Born in Muncie, “Little Chicago” Indiana Spent some time in the USMC, where Billy picked up some experience and a guitar. While stationed in Hawaii, he started collecting, and learning what he could from some of the great blues records that where stocked in the PX record store. Cuts like Otis Rush’s “Mean Old World” from the Vanguard sessions and any Junior Wells/Buddy Guy tracks where well worn.
After the service,Billy joined up with some fellow blues disciples to form the band, “Professor Oak and the Hurricanes with harmonica/vocalist Tom Moore (currently with guitarist Little Frank in South Bend, IN). Making a move to San Diego on the west coast, the Hurricanes where lucky to be able to do shows with Etta James, Junior Wells, James Cotton, Ronnie Earl, and many more, often at the famed Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach CA. We also played as west coast blues man Smokey Wilson’s back-up band on many occasions. The Hurricanes then hit the road for 2 years, touring all throughout the Midwest and Southeast with many stints at the famous Blues Harbor in Atlanta, the Tobacco Road in Miami, Biddy Mulligan’s in Chicago, and many more. We added Chris Long on bass, who went on to become a cornerstone member of Atlanta’s King Johnson Band and who is a great singer, bass man and song writer. The drummer, Tim “Spider” Webb, did stints with Felix Reyes and toured with Guitar Junior. Keyboard player Dave Camp brought along a 1950′s B-3 (from a church) that just fit in the back of our blue converted school bus.
At some point in the late ’80′s, Billy took a break from the road to raise a family, settling in San Diego, CA for 18 years. There he had the opportunity to keep playing with some of the finest musicians on the west coast: recording with Earl Thomas http://www.earlthomasmusic.com/ on his debut CD,recorded with Jonny Viau, Premier west coast sax man, who has played with many greats such as Kim Wilson, William Clark, Sweet Betty, Roy Gains, Candye Kane and the list goes on. Some of the regulars: Marcus Bashore, drummer George Sluppick (who produced my new debut album), Greg Willis (toured with Candye Kane ), Neal Wauchope (fabulous Atlanta based B-3 player and piano man), Troy Jennings (one of the finest baritone sax players in the universe). We recorded a live set at Dizzy’s in San Diego which was released in 1999 as “Jonny Viau and the Blues All-stars – Live at Dizzy’s.”
Billy is currently based in southwest Florida,and has just released his Memphis soul drenched debut album “Better Place”, recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN and currently playing on Blues radio nationwide.