Billy Needs a Beard

Billy Needs a Beard

BandFolkAmericana

We are four friends of diverse musical background, who mix roots, traditional, and rock and roll music while blending harmonies with solid musical instrumentation to tell relate some of the issues that make growing older a little more interesting: love, loss, dreams and anxious desires.

Biography

Steve and Ben had been playing guitar together at Steve’s house on Monday nights for about 6 weeks. Covering Beatles’ tunes was the challenge: they were working up arrangements of Julia, Revolution, Get Back, A Little Help From My Friends, and In My Life. Billy got wind of what they were doing and wanted in. He had Monday nights free, loved the Beatles, so it was a deal.

It made sense that since there were three of them, they should become a band, but there was one problem: Billy didn’t have a beard. He had this scruffy goatee at that time, and well if he wanted to be in the band, he would have to grow a real beard. For several weeks they searched for a good name, but nothing really hit the mark. Friends who heard about the rehearsals ask, “How’s the band coming?” To which they’d reply, ‘we’re not a band yet, Billy still needs to grow a beard.’

Well, that phrase built its own kind of music, and probably by the fifth or sixth month of playing together on those Monday nights, the three of them became Billy Needs a Beard.

At this point in the story, approximately July or August of 2002, all their playing occurred in Steve’s living room in Winter Haven, Florida. In truth, Billy and Ben were not very accomplished guitarists, learning things each week they both wished they had learned the week or months before. Steve was patient, though, and nurtured them through the process of approaching different genres of music. Along with the Beatles, they were learning Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, The Rolling Stones, The Band, Johnny Cash, The Box Tops, and The Beach Boys. And each would bring songs to play, and they’d work up arrangements for the guitars and voices. Steve was adamant there’d be harmonizing. And there was.

January of 2003 rolled around, and another good friend, Jimmy, who had just purchased an acoustic bass, joined the band. (For the record, when Jim joined the band he had a nicely shaped goatee of his own, so it was still Billy who needed the beard!)

When Jim joined, the band began to rotate the rehearsals so that each of them had the responsibility of supplying the refreshments for the band on Monday nights. Sometimes their wives took charge of this, and there was a time when a bit of competition arose as to who would supply the best food and drink. Jim also helped expand the band’s repertoire, as it was his suggestion to do the cover of Del Shannon’s “I Go to Pieces.”

The song list expanded, the rehearsals became a bit more cohesive, and the harmonies and playing improved. The band was becoming more and more comfortable with the idea of making music together, when one day Steve booked the foursome at an event. At first, Billy, Jim, and Ben thought he was joking, but he was dead serious. Billy Needs a Beard was the opening act at the Munn Park Fall Art Fest in Lakeland, a 45 minute set.

Even now Ben remembers thinking about and planning for that gig. “I kept hearing Steven Stills’ words to the crowd at Woodstock: ‘This was our first gig, man. I was scared ****less!’”

But it came off, basically without a hitch (well, mostly: Steve bought a new Taylor guitar for the gig, and the electronics failed during the fourth song and he had to switch to his Fender electric), and Bryan Rivers, a local musician, watched the last few songs and marveled at a harmony version of “Julia.”

In some ways, that gig led to a gig the next spring at Highlands Hammock State Park for an Earth Day Celebration. And somewhere along about that time, they began writing their own songs. Steve, a gifted musician for years, had a bunch of tunes he’d been working on. In years past, The Flying Burrito Brothers covered one of his songs, giving him the creative push to continue his life in music as a music educator. And Ben had been writing lyrics for years, occasionally putting a few of them to music. Jim had earlier stints in bands—as a teenager and in college—and he and Billy jumped into the writing mode. Before they knew it, somewhere between 10 and 20 original songs arose from the creative spirit.

This is about 2004, and Billy Needs a Beard was getting a small following, getting them a nice opportunity to play at a benefit for the Talbot House in Lakeland. About 350 people attended to hear them and about 11 other acts. Their three selections, “The MTA,” “Man of Constant Sorrow,” and “I Saw the Light” drew wonderful response, and the essence of being a band was settling in.
Then Steve hit came in with another surprise: he purchased a 12 Track digital home recording studio. Before too long, they were recording songs with the plans of producing their own CD.

A long series of First Friday Downtown gigs followed. Four single night performances at Mitchell’s Coffee House introduced them to many new listeners in the Lakeland area. A Christmas Party for a local housing community, another Talbot House Benefit, and a chance to play the Historic Polk Theatre for an ‘Un

Lyrics

Everybody's Heaven

Written By: Ben Graffam and Steven Glick

Barefoot boy in a field down south
Don’t know what a snowstorm brings
Ain’t built a fort inside a snow bank
Ain’t carved out the angel’s wings
Never skated hard on the ice all day
With his nose all runny and wet
Barefoot boy in a field down south
Don’t know how good it can get
He don’t know how good it can get

Red haired girl on a mountain up north
Don’t know about a sunset beach
Ain’t seen the cone of a long leaf pine
Ain’t slurped up a just picked peach
Never smelt the blossoms of a citrus grove
Or seen the knees of a Cyprus tree
Red haired girl on a mountain up north
Don’t know how good it can be
She don’t know how good it can be

(Chorus)
Everybody’s heaven just a little bit different
Everybody’s paradise never the same
I think that’s proper
I think that’s fitting
Everybody’s heaven is anybody’s game
Everybody’s heaven is anybody’s game

Tired old man in a rocking chair
Ain’t had a good day in a year
Lost his wife back in ‘96
Now his children live nowhere near
Thinks about things that have long gone by
As the sun sets slow in the west
Tired old man in a rocking chair
Just waiting for life’s long rest
He’s just waiting for life’s long rest

Repeat Chorus

Marilyn

Written By: Steven Glick

(Chorus)
I think I got a problem with Marilyn, Marilyn, Marilyn
I think I got a problem with Marilyn, she don’t love me no more
It seems it’s finally over with Marilyn, Marilyn, Marilyn
It seems it’s finally over with Marilyn, she don’t love me no more

She says the car I’m driving it ain’t big enough,
It ain’t long enough, it ain’t wide enough
She says the car I’m driving it ain’t fast enough
So she don’t love me no more

(Repeat Chorus)

She told me she was angry ‘cause I eat too much,
I smoke too much, I cuss too much
She told me she was angry ‘cause I drink too much
So she don’t love me no more

(Repeat Chorus)

She says she sick and tired of my selfish ways
I don’t communicate, I’m insensitive
She says she’s sick and tired of my foolishness
So she don’t love me no more

Time Can Run Away

Written By: Billy Lippy and Steven Glick

Waiting for a train from Louisiana
Been going from town to town
Sitting on a box of dirty shirts
It’s time to settle down
Cathy called last evening
Left a message on my phone
I hear those words till morning
As I’m left here all alone

Cry cry cry
I sit and wonder why
Why why why
Stay or wave good-bye

Memories of our better days
Seem to swirl inside my mind
Worked a lot without much play
Time has caught me blind
Set a spell to catch my thoughts
Reflections of the past
Count my blessings, heal the wounds
Sit and pray and I fast

Cry cry cry
I sit and wonder why
Why why why
Stay or wave good-bye

Now it’s clear I’ve lost my way
Need to head my way back home
Time to look beyond the fray
Toward better things to come
Home appears and my friend so dear
I’ve been waiting for this day
Familiar scenes, home’s the theme
Stay don’t run away

Cry cry cry
I sit and wonder why
Why why why
Stay or wave good-bye

Play Some Robert Johnson for Me

Written By: Jim Bassham and Steven Glick

Riding through the delta
Back to Tennessee
I'm riding through the delta
Back to Tennessee
Man says son, won’t you play some blues for me

Coffee in the morning
Whiskey in the afternoon
Black coffee in the morning
Whiskey in the afternoon
It’s summer now, but winter’s coming soon

I want to hear John Lee Hooker
Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee
Ride that train and dig them blues
And play some Robert Johnson for me

Every man has a story
Every woman is a song
Every man has a story
Every woman is a song
I’ve heard it all before, but I can listen to it all night long

I want to hear Muddy Waters
Willie Dixon and Bill Broonzy
Ride that train and dig them blues
And play some Robert Johnson for me

Long Way Home

Written By: Ben Graffam and Steven Glick

Windshield wipers slappin’ time
That song was hers and mine
We’d sing out loud to the radio
Now I never sing those songs
Can’t pretend things ain’t gone wrong
Where I’m headed, I don’t know

But tonight I’m driving
Driving all alone
Looks like a long way home

Memories are made of this
Soft breezes and evening mist
Sitting on the porch with the radio
Sad songs as I drank my wine
Took me back to a better time
Will it forsake me, I don’t know

But tonight I'm driving
Driving all alone
Looks like a long way home

It’s a long long road to travel
Till all my dreams come true
Listening to the radio
Thinking of you
Wondering if I’ll ever know
How far I’ve got to roam
Looks like a long way home

I realize now that we’re apart
I’m sorry that I broke her heart
The ways of love I did not know
So much I didn’t understand
After all I’m just a man
And like a fool, I let her go

So tonight I'm driving
Driving all alone
Looks like a long way home

Discography

Debut CD: BILLY needs a beard

Set List

Here is a typical evening list for three sets. You'll see a mix of originals and covers.
1. Angel From Montgomery
2. Handle With Care
3. Mr. Tambourine Man
4. Happy Together
5. Lovin aint Lovin
6. I Shoulda Known Better
7. I’ll Fly Away
8. The Road to Avalon
9. What’s Come Over Me?
10. No Expectations
11. Tomorrow Today
12. I Go to Pieces
13. The Letter
14. Remember Me
15. Like a Rolling Stone
16. Sitting on Top of the World
17. Down in Del Rio
18. Lenora Smiles
19. Asphalt Sea
20. Can We Go to the River?
21. Helpless
22. Move it on Over
23. Sloop John B.
24. Julia
25. Last Time
26. Winter in New England
27. Nothing to Gain
28. Richard Cory
29. Everybody’s Heaven
30. Tonight
31. Women in Love
32. Maybe it’s Time for a Change
33. The Farmer’s Daughter
34. I Shall Be Released
35. Cripple Creek