Tennessee based, Americana Singer/Songwriter, Billy Hubbard, has musical roots that run back for generations. His mother was in a 40’s and 50’s band called, the Tennessee Pardners, that toured the southland with many great artists of their day.
“Mom played the mandolin and guitar, and they recorded several of the old 78 speed records in their day,” Billy told us. “Today I have a cousin who is named June Anita because June Carter and her sister Anita both wanted my uncle Ovid (who played in mom’s band) to name my cousin after them. Mom said they often became friends with other artists, (some who would go on to be famous), while lined up to play live at radio stations.”
“My dad played lap steel guitar and acoustic guitar, but was never in my mom’s band. Actually when my mom and dad married, and the first of my three sisters was born, my mom became a stay at home mom, as was expected in those days. Even though she left the band, she still played guitar and mandolin regularly at home, church, and family gatherings, so I was certainly influenced by her,” he added.
Billy said his earliest memories as a child was getting into trouble for popping open the old Martin guitar case, or his mom’s Gibson mandolin case, to play with what he thought were fun toys to bang on. “In honor of my mom, Shawn Camp played her old Gibson mandolin on “Goodbye Waltz,” which is the song on my album that I wrote about her passing. I had a bit of trouble getting through that song when recording, but I decided to leave my vocals as is. She taught me my first few guitar chords, just enough to play the popular songs of her day.”
Felt Like A Companion
Billy said that from an early age music has felt like a companion or friend that’s always there for him. “My favorite thing has always been to play for my own soul,” he said, “by finding a quiet spot just for me and my guitar. I’ve always tried to encourage others to learn an instrument of their choice for their own pleasure if nothing else.”
Throughout his career, Billy would meet talented artists spinning their wheels, and he felt the need to help them. Over time, he found himself with the experience, ability, and contacts to be able to point them in the right direction with their development. “It almost feels like music has pursued me until I caught it,” he exclaimed. “As far as my music, I tend to be a storyteller songwriter. When something moves or excites me, it feels natural to tell it in a song.”
Among his many other career achievements, Billy is also is also co-founder, venue developer, and booking manager of the iconic venue, The Station, in East TN. His YouTube channel featuring up and coming artists and live shows has had over three million viewers.
Billy wears a lot of hats in the music business these days. “I have favorite parts of each, and parts of each that feel more like work,” he quipped. “As a singer/songwriter I have stories to tell, so I love giving birth to a song and feeling it come to life with a full band, then seeing it to completion in the studio. I also love performing in listening rooms and festivals, but I don’t enjoy the work of rehearsing,” he said.
“As a producer I love producing music, events, and podcasts that I’m excited to share with others that I know they will love. However I don’t enjoy sitting at a computer spending time with emails and contracts. As an A&R, I love the hunt, and the ability to help artists develop, but I do not like the business side of it. All things considered, I am and will always be a singer/songwriter, even if or when all my other hats are long gone. That’s one thing I don’t think I can shake even if I tried, so that would be my favorite.”
In early 2021, Billy decided to devote a year to produce the best album possible with his many friends in the music industry, bringing together the best musicians, the best engineers, at the best studio in Nashville, to record his 10 best unpublished songs spanning 40 years. This past September, Billy released the self titled, 10 song album, and features Country Music Hall of Fame, Grammy winning Charlie Mccoy (harmonica), Grammy winning artist, Shawn Camp (fiddle and mandolin), Travis Anderson, currently bassist for Mountain Heart (upright bass/electric bass), Ryan Sise (co-producer/lead guitar), Bethany Jean Smith (vocals on two duets), Casey Green (drums), singer songwriter, Scarlett Egan (background vocals), and Richard Hill (background vocals).
Getting It Done
“I’m a terrible procrastinator,” Billy said. “But after losing a few friends during covid, I decided to make producing an album with my 10 best unpublished songs my #1 priority. Also I wanted to produce quality over quantity, making the best fidelity record possible at one of the best studios in Nashville, featuring some of my legendary friends while they’re still with us, such as Charlie McMoy who’s now 81 yrs old. Charlie has played with everyone from Dylan to Elvis, so it was an honor for him to like my songs enough to want to play on the four songs that needed harmonica. I also have a new single “All About Love” that I recorded while in the studio producing my new album. I will be releasing it just before Valentine’s Day, February 2023.”
By Greg Tutwiler