Southern feel, soul, rhythm and blues, country, rock & roll, greasy honky tonks; these things come to mind when thinking about Grammy-award winning keyboardist, Billy Earheart. He grew up in Tullahoma, Tennessee (an hour south of Nashville), and from there went to Muscle Shoals, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville and currently in North Mississippi, playing with an impressive list of artists along the way.
Billy is also an original member and still tours with the Amazing Rhythm Aces,and also has played with;Hank Williams Jr(21 years), Al Green, B.B. King, Memphis Slim, Waylon Jennings, Eddie Hinton, Kid Rock, Dickie Betts, Ace Cannon, Gatemouth Brown, Willie Cobbs, Kris Kristofferson, Sammy Hagar, Jimmy Buffet, Glen Frey, Rufus Thomas, Leslie West, and a host of other acts.
Listen to an hour long interview with Billy E. on Reneck Rampage Radio
Billy is plays a Korg Triton LE; Hammond XK-3c Proud to be a Hammond endorsee.
Billy started with a Farfisa Compact in 1966. He moved to a Hammond M-2 and the big Hammond C-3 (1959 model). When he played with the Amazing Rhythm Aces in the '70s he played the Hammond C-3 as well as a six-foot Yamaha grand piano, and Wurlitzer electric piano. Billy also has a 50's Wurlitzer electric piano, a couple accordians, and three Leslies, along with a Yamaha DX7,korg M1, two Keytek digital pianos, peavey DM3-Se,an old upright piano and a pump organ.
Mac Rebennack - Dr. John - is one of Billy's long-time favorites. Other favorites include Professor Longhair,Ray Charles, Bill Payne, Jimmy Smith, Booker T. Jones, Art Tatum, James Hooker, Barry Beckett, John Jarvis, Chuck Leavell, Matt Rollings, Joey De Francesco, James Booker, Allen Toussaint, Reese Wynans, NC Thurman, Spooner Oldham, Henry Butler and Otis Spann.
Musical Highpoints and Awards
Billy won several award with the Amazing Rhythm Aces. The group was nominated for a Grammy for "Best New Artist" in 1975. They won the Grammy for Country Group in 1976 for their recording of "The End Is Not In Sight." That same year, they won the Cash Box Award for "Best Progressive Group." Other honors with the Aces include several ASCAP awards, as well as receiving the "Key to the City of Memphis" in 1976. The Aces also won a gold record for "Goin South," a double CD compilation of Southern music.
One of Billy's special honors was the proclamation by Shelby County Mayor William Morris of June 28, 1985 as "Billy Earheart Day" in Memphis, Tennessee!
The awards continued with Billy's association with Bocephus. The CMA presented Hank Williams, Jr. and The Bama Band with two video awards: for "My Name is Bocephus" in 1986, and for "Young Country" in 1987. 1989 brought an Emmy for the Rowdy Friends Theme from "Monday Night Football." And in 1989, the documentary and live video featuring Hank Jr. and the band, "Full Access" was certified platinum. Billy also played on the gold records Hank Live, Wild Streak, Greatest hits 3,and America the way I see it. The Bama Band also won the "Lifetime Achievement" award from the Ohio Country Music Association. Billy is a lifetime member of the Country Music Association and the Hank Williams Appreciation Society.
Billy E. has also had the honor of playing for four different presidents,Carter,Clinton,Bush Sr.,& George W.
Outrageous Road Experiences
Hanging out for days with legendary Gonzo writer, Hunter S. Thompson, well known for writing "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas".
Billy considers a wild and strange trip to the islands of Trinidad and Tobago with Ace Cannon as one of his most memorable road experiences. Ace is known for the 60's sax instrumental "Tuff."
Tours with the Amazing Rhythm Aces were also memorable. A tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1980 was notable for the addition of comic actor Bill Murray, who was there to hang out with the band. Bill Murray was later on stage with the band - playing tambourine - when the Aces performed on "Saturday Night Live."
Cross country tour in a van with Legendary soul singer Al Green, were spectacular.
Billy has seen lots of fun, killer road parties, and great music while playing 21 years with Hank Williams, Jr. Tours with The Bama Band have been very good as well.
To hear some Billy Earheart songs,other info, photos and blog click the myspace link.Also on Twitter and Facebook
Check it out!