Blackjack Billy is a Nashville-based country rock band comprised of Clayton Shay, Noll Billing, Jeff Coplan, Brad Cummings, and Noll’s brother, Tim. They describe their music as, “Redneck rock.” Their first single, the self-produced “The Booz Cruise,” was self-released in early March 2020.
Blackjack Billy’s first album, “Americana Blues,” is out now through Blackjack Billy Records. This is their first release as a full band. The title refers to “the music from my own childhood,” Billings told me. “I started playing guitar at five years old and learned all sorts of songs from my father and brother in law, but I never really found a musical niche until I got to Nashville and met a friend who introduced me to the great musicians like Buddy Guy and Merle Haggard.”
“I grew up in the South, so most of the songs on this record are related to my experiences growing up in the South,” he said. “I used to play in a church band when I was in junior high and I would sing songs like ‘God Bless America’God Bless the USA.’ But those were all about what I grew up around.” Billings said that this record is about “what it’s like to live in the 21st century.”
For country guitar fans, there’s some familiar tunes on the record. The first song, “Ponytail Blues,” has a beautiful country blues sound, Billings explained. “This is my favorite track on the record.” The song is also about his mother, whom he calls his “ponytail girl,” he told me.
“Americana Blues” features Billings’ lyrics about life in the South. “The first part of the song is me telling my story,” he said. Billings explained that the story is about his life growing up in North Carolina, the night time he was “fighting with my little sister and my mom going to the store to get me some doughnuts.” And he said that the “last verse is about how it changed for me.” “You see it’s a different way,” Billings said. “I’m not always sitting in a corner crying.”
“Blackjack Billy” comes to the stage with a very versatile set of songs. While the songs on “Americana Blues” are more country than anything else, the rest of the record is very catchy country rock. I found that this record is a great way for blackjack Billy fans to get a taste of their favorite country music without having to leave home.