"Billy Thompson's music bristles with the infectious, syncopated sounds of New Orleans, the electricity of great rock n roll, the punchy verve of Memphis soul and the heartfelt power of blues, funk and jazz." -George Varga, San Diego Tribune
Billy Thompson’s performances have captured audiences in the U.S. and throughout Europe, setting the tone for this veteran musician’s songwriting, singing and guitar playing, both live and in the studio. In his original music, he combines world-class slide guitar, searing licks and soulful vocals with a unique amalgamation of styles including blues, rock, funk, New Orleans and soul. Some say, “it’s like Hendrix meets Little Feat!”
Billy has played with legends such as Little Milton, Albert King, Earl King and Art Neville, while opening for the likes of Robert Cray, B.B. King, Sonny Landreth, The Neville Brothers and Joe Cocker, to name a few. He has performed on Barbara Walter’s “The View” and with the San Diego Symphony. He also performed for the grand opening of L.A.’s House of Blues. Billy has been invited to play with such icons as the Doobie Brothers, Bill Payne and John Mooney. He has provided lead guitar for the Broadway show “Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues” and for Tony Award winning playwright Keith Glover’s Bluesical, “Thunder Knocking on the Door,” which he recorded with platinum recording artist Keb Mo. Billy also served as musical supervisor for Geva Theatre’s 2015 Journey to the Son Festival.. a tribute to Delta great, Son House, in Rochester, NY, in addition to performing for the Festival with his own band.
His seventh release, "Friend," has received rave reviews and heavy airplay worldwide. Along with his touring players, this release hosts guest appearances from Bill Payne (Little Feat, J.J. Cale), Ron Holloway (Warren Haynes, Tedeschi/Trucks), James “Hutch” Hutchinson (Bonnie Raitt, Neville Brothers), Kenny Gradney (Little Feat, Delaney & Bonnie) and Mike Finnigan (Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker).
Billy’s 2012 release, "A Better Man," was produced by Grammy winner, Tony Braunagel (Eric Burdon, Robert Cray). A host of world class players are featured including Mike Finnigan, 8-time Grammy winner Johnny Lee Schell (Phantom Blues Band), Kenny Gradney, James “Hutch” Hutchinson, Lenny Castro (Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones) and The Texacali Horns' Joe Sublett & Darrell Leonard (Little Feat, Phantom Blues Band).
“A Better Man” was nominated by Blues Blast Magazine for 2012 Contemporary Blues Album of the Year and received excellent reviews, including "Bluesbreaker of the Week" on Dan Aykroyd's "Elwood's House of Blues Hour" and “B.B. King’s Bluesville’s Pick To Click.”
Recent Billy Thompson Band performances include NPR’s Mountain Stage, San Diego Blues
Festival 2015, Geva Theatre’s Journey to the Son Festival 2015, BB
Kings (NYC), House of Blues (Chicago/Orlando), Humphrey's
Concerts By the Bay (San Diego), Western Maryland Blues Festival,
Washington Folk Festival (DC), Paoli Blues Festival (Philadelphia,
PA), New York State Blues Festival and the Michelob Blues
FRIEND - Billy Thompson, Soul Stew Records, 2013
CHRISTMAS SINGLE - The Billy Thompson Band, Soul Stew Records, 2012
A BETTER MAN - Billy Thompson, Papa Lee Records, 2011
REMIXED & REMASTERED - Billy Thompson, 2009
AREA 51 - Billy Thompson, 2005
TANGERINE SKY - Billy Thompson, 1998
COAT OF MANY COLORS - Billy Thompson & The Mighty Penguins, 1994
Billy’s highly anticipated new release, “Friend,” was conceptualized and recorded with the intention of delivering an ensemble in a live room setting. This was accomplished by laying the basic tracks down in an old grist mill, delivering an open, old-school tone. Along with Billy’s touring players, this CD hosts guest appearances from Bill Payne (Little Feat, J.J. Cale), Ron Holloway (Warren Haynes, Tedeschi/Trucks), James “Hutch” Hutchinson (Bonnie Raitt, Neville Brothers), Kenny Gradney (Little Feat, Delaney & Bonnie) and Mike Finnigan (Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker), to name a few.
Billy's last full-length release, "A Better Man," produced by Grammy award winner Tony Braunagel, was nominated by Blues Blast Magazine for 2012 Contemporary Blues Album of the Year. This album received excellent reviews nationwide including "Bluesbreaker of the Week" on Dan Aykroyd's "Elwood's House of Blues Blues Hour" as well as “B.B. King’s Bluesville’s Pick To Click” for several months.
Blues based, mostly original material. Rockin' and soulful, swampy and funky, with occasional vintage blues like Bobby Bland's Farther Up the Road, and "Rich Man's Woman" by Muddy Waters or New Orleans, second line standards like "Big Chief" and/or "Pocky Way," interspersed.
Art Neville of the Neville Brothers loves our quasi second line version of Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" and Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" ...
We run the groove gamut, basically... keeping the music interesting for everyone!