Billy Crockett

Billy Crockett

Billy Crockett

📅21 September 2016, 20:09

website: www.billycrockett.com

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For Immediate Release

September 7, 2016

 

Singer-Songwriter Billy Crockett Returns To Recording

After Seven Year Gap With Musical Gem Rabbit Hole

Blue Rock Artist Ranch & Studio owner-producer rediscovers his muse

 – and his voice – with backing by Roscoe Beck, Eric Darken

 

WIMBERLEY, Texas – Singer-songwriter and producer Billy Crockett took his time to write and record a follow-up to his well-received 2009 album, Wishing Sky. But Rabbit Hole, releasing Oct. 1, 2016, on his own Blue Rock Artists label, proves well worth the wait. Written and produced by Crockett, Rabbit Hole combines moving, joyful, reflective – and very personal – lyrics with wonderfully crafted melodies drawing on folk, jazz, pop, blues and soul.

 

Crockett had never stopped writing new songs, but he also kept busy with recording sessions, a live concert series and other events at his Blue Rock Artist Ranch and Studio in Wimberley, an artist-friendly community in the hill country outside of Austin, Texas. He also worked on his craft, hosting song-critiquing sessions that helped him sharpen his writing to a fine point.

 

The weekly sessions, called “Blue Tuesdays,” draw some of the region’s top songwriters; regulars include Susan Gibson (the Dixie Chicks’ “Wide Open Spaces”), BettySoo, Patrick Conway, Tom Meny and Kim Miller. They share (or bare) a new song at each meeting, after which the others offer commentary. All but one of the 11 songs Crockett picked for Rabbit Hole went through this process, with further honing on stages at festivals, conferences and venues throughout North America.

 

When he finally carved out time to sit behind the mic at Blue Rock, Crockett didn’t waste a moment. It took just a few days for him to track his expressive vocals and virtuosic acoustic guitar work, with elegant backing by Austin bassist Roscoe Beck (Leonard Cohen, the Dixie Chicks), Nashville percussionist Eric Darken (Taylor Swift, Vince Gill, Jimmy Buffett) and Dallas-based electric guitarist Daran DeShazo. Crockett and Chris Bell (the Eagles, Erykah Badu) handled the pristine mix, without sacrificing one degree of warmth.  

 

Blending experience and metaphor to tell his stories, Crockett lets his imagination and curiosity take him were they might – even if, as in the title song, they send him down a rabbit hole. Crockett affectionately catalogues the soundtrack of his youth in “Record Player,” an ode to vinyl and turntables. He also addresses musical influences – well, one in particular – in “Mavis.” An upbeat, groove-laden charmer, it’s an unabashed celebration of the gospel-pop singer’s impact.

 

Born in Guthrie, Okla., Crockett was an on-the-move Air Force brat until his family settled in Dallas when he was 6. He got his first guitar, a freebie that came with a set of tires, at 10. That led to jazz-guitar studies with Jack Peterson at the University of North Texas before he switched to the University of Miami in Florida to study audio engineering with Bill Porter, the renowned Nashville sound architect and engineer for Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, the Everlys and Chet Atkins. After graduation, Crockett landed an A&R job at Nashville’s Brentwood Records. He left there to work with Latin pop star José Luis Rodríguez, then joined contemporary Christian publisher Word Music as a staff writer. In 1984, Crockett recorded his first album for Word’s Dayspring label. He did eight more for various labels, including four for his own Walking Angel imprint, before taking a hiatus from recording and touring in 1999.

 

In 2006, Crockett and his wife, Dodee, opened Blue Rock, a beautiful, 27-acre artists’ retreat. That year, Crockett released Passages, a collection of original instrumentals for classical guitar. Wishing Sky, his first album of secular songs, came three years later. Crockett’s appearances in support of that effort included the nationally syndicated TV show, Troubadour, TX.

 

With Rabbit Hole, Crockett wanted to channel his creativity into more intimate, confessional songs, and there’s no question he’s succeeded. The crags in his voice reflect the earth’s thirst in the heartbreaking “Drought”; there’s ache and longing in “Spare Me,” too. But he relishes plumbing his own family history for the fact-meets-fiction of  “Ghosts,” and in “Take Me,” he gets downright lusty. With “Big Old World,” he just wants to have fun – and experience the kind of unfettered joy children do.

 

“Life’s pretty damned short,” Crockett notes. “Let’s say what we mean.” Unconstrained by genre expectations, he feels more free than ever to do exactly that. He’s even noted a change in his rich tenor, which he says has become more relaxed. “I’ve got a falsetto that I’m trusting now and a vibrato that’s fresh and new,” he marvels. “I’m having a lot of fun rediscovering my sound.”

 

Those vocal explorations are evident in “Already Perfect,” a song he says represents his biggest departure – and yet, best exemplifies Rabbit Hole’s spirit and intent. It’s about appreciating what’s right in front of you, whether it’s a star-filled night or the love of your life. “I put it on the record because I want to live more like this,” he says. “It’s bewildering and amazing to be given this life, and to be given the people in your life, and the music that you have, and even the desires that you have. And if you don’t appreciate that, you have nothing.”

 

Crockett’s keen appreciation fills every note of Rabbit Hole. Go ahead; fall in.

 

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Billy Crockett on Tour:

Saturday, October 1

Southwest Regional Folk Alliance – 2016 Showcase

Austin, TX

 

Sunday, October 2

Art of the Song Radio – Sol Acting Academy Theater Space

Albuquerque, NM

 

Friday, November 4

The Dosey Doe Big Barn

The Woodlands, TX

 

Saturday, November 5

Cactus Cafe

Austin, TX

 

Saturday, November 12

San Angelo Songwriter Series – Emmanuel Episcopal Church

San Angelo, TX

 

Thursday, December 1

The Blue Door

Oklahoma City OK

 

Friday, December 2

Uncle Calvin’s Coffeehouse

Dallas, TX

 

 

 

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