Billy Midnight
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Billy Midnight


Band Americana Rock


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Live at the Tradewinds, LP 2000
Cowboy Come Clean, EP 2001
Billy Midnight, LP 2002
Live at Earthling Studios, Doble Live LP 2003
Mellow Me, 2003
Don't Get Your Hopes Up, LP 2007



While it’s easy to stylistically pigeonhole music, the best is often actually a mix of things, creating a unique sound. Such is the case with Americana based trio, Billy Midnight. Of course, that musical classification only tells part of the story. True, their songs are loosely tied to Americana or roots based rock, but their sound hits a much broader spectrum than most. Touching on a dizzying mix of sonic cornerstones, they seamlessly meld rock, blues, boogie, country, and embryonically tuned vocals into a metaphoric music blender. Billy Midnight seizes your imagination with their good-natured groove.

It’s at this point that it should be pointed out that there is not, in fact, anyone named Billy Midnight in this band. Instead the three-man lineup is based around the singing Shaddox brothers, Billy (lead vocals, guitar) and Bobby (harmony, drums). They recently acquired ex-Rookie Card and Buzzkill Romantics maestro, Jason Hee on bass and keys. A noted producer in his own right, Hee is the missing ingredient, anchoring the band while pushing them further, particularly in the studio.

Billy Midnight was founded in 1999, though the band’s run hasn’t been continuous. Almost from the onset the band hit the studio and hit the road, building a fanbase via word of mouth, as their stage performances ranged from manic to occasionally frenzied. However a trip through the northwest nearly sidelined the group. On tour in Oregon, Billy suffered a traumatic head injury, resulting in a self imposed, two year hiatus. The time away yielded dividends. While the pair worked on solo projects, they honed both their songwriting and arranging skills, resulting in their third album, 2007’s “Don’t Get Your Hopes Up.”
The thirteen tracks included push the aural envelope. All three members contribute songs, though the lions share is credited to Billy. Recorded in Hee's studio near downtown San Diego, the range of material across the board is impressive. The tunes all retain a country flair but stretch out from there. Bobby’s “Suck Job at the Oasis” comes across like an early eighties power-pop number, while Hee’s “The Last Night” opens with an ambient instrumental piece before loping into a countrified rocker. However, the core of the music remains Billy’s adventurous songs, voice and especially lead guitar. All three can be heard at their best on the new album, on songs like melancholy, jangly pop tune “Keep It Calm,” or the opening title track, “Don’t Get Your Hope Up.” Between its intricate harmonies and screaming guitars set against a country groove, the track is practically a definitive statement on Billy Midnight’s musical mission.

In 2007 the band scored a San Diego Music Awards nomination for "Best Americana/Country" group and also got a nod for their album, setting the stakes for what’s to follow even higher. No question, they’re up to the challenge. Billy continues to pen eclectic songs that entertain and inspire, which the band will be road testing across the West Coast states throughout 2008. In the meantime, it’s clear that Billy Midnight’s electrifying performances are reaching wider audiences as they tap country two-step jams, Nashville funk, California harmonies, space-age riffs, blistering telecaster leads and a healthy dose of unrestrained enthusiasm. A relentless string of local appearances and west coast tours both attest to the trio's musical stamina whenever they hit a stage; not even last call can stop Billy Midnight. But as great as a Billy Midnight performance can be, the key to this band is that they know their way around a song. There is no doubt that Billy Midnight offers up songs that will still stick with a listener like only the best melodies do.