Billy was born and raised in Tullahoma, Tennessee, a small town fifty miles east of Nashville. He joined his first country band and started singing at the age of fifteen.
In 1978, on the advice of a close friend he made the move to Texas, where he has lived for the past 21 years. Within a short time he formed the "Texas Pride Band" and from 1978 to 1990, Billy and Texas Pride were in constant demand throughout Texas, noted for playing some of the finest country, and western swing music, to be to be heard anywhere.
In February of 1990, Billy was in a very serious auto accident and doctors told him that he would never be able to sing again due to vocal damage caused by the accident. But he refused to accept the diagnosis and in July of the same year not only was he singing again, he was singing better then he ever had! The band broke up soon after this, and Billy became a solo act, doing Willie, Merle, top 40, and his own self penned songs.
In June 1999, Billy recorded Unchained Country, an album of real traditional country music, of the type American radio doesn't seem to want to know anymore.
The album kicks off with "The Blues Is A Good Woman Gone" (The blues is a good woman gone, A fool is a man whose done wrong) a good solid country song written by the albums producer Curt Ryle, with some fine accoustic guitar picking, plenty of fiddle and peddle steel, that sets the scene for the rest of the album.
Second track, the very catchy "Shame On Me", written by Billy with Maurice Cloy, is a great shuffler that is perhaps the most radio friendly track on the album, and should certainly be considered for release as a single.
Next is my favourite track on the album, "The Whole World Must Be Colour Blind". Another song written by Curt Ryle, this is a terrific country ballad that just stays in your head. I can't stop singing this one.
The tempo increases dramatically for "Wild Turkey And Seven Up", yet another Curt Ryle composition and one that is certain to have the dancers up on the floor, while Billy slows things down again for a story of lost love in the fourth Curt Ryle composition on the album "Do These Two Arms".
"West Texas Morning" is a catchy tune, written by Billy, that shows off the talented musicians on this album, with some great instrumental solo's at the end, and is another track that is sure to get get the dancers back on the floor.
"The Road To Yesterday" is another good song written by producer Curt Ryle, that has the singer wishing he could turn back the clock and put right the wrongs he did that drove his woman away.
We're in a rockin' mood for the lively "Back To My Honky Tonk Ways". A song that would be perfect for the likes of Travis Tritt, and the only song on the album not written or co-written by Billy or Curt Ryle.
Billy and Curt get together to write the next one, the very catchy two stepper "Please Baby Please". A song that has the singer trying to get his woman to come back home. I love the spoken line at the end, - OK, I'll get on my knees, but I'm not begging - Try and keep your feet still to this one.
Memory Still Takes Control"
is a nice ballad co-written by Billy with Dian Brooks Keeble, whom
I presume is Mrs Billy Keeble, while the album closes with "I'll
Be Walking In You Sleep Tonight", another two stepper
that sounds very reminiscent of an early Willie Nelson.
Keeble is a new name to me, but on this showing he appears to be a
very talented singer and songwriter, and coupled with the excellent
production and songwriting skills of Curt Ryle and the backing of
some of Nashvilles finest musicians, ( Buddy Emmons & Glen Duncan
to name just two) "Unchained Country" is a wonderful album
of solid country music (no pop crossover here)
As I write, the European Country Music Association have him down as the 9th most played artist for the week of December 20th.
It would be great to see Billy tour over here, I'm sure he'd go down a storm.
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