Time for some ‘redneck rock’

If you like you country spiced with rock and energy then you'd best mark Saturday, Aug. 25 on your calendar.

That is the day Blackjack Billy hits the stage at the Painted Hand Casino.

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Blackjack Billy is an American country rock group based in Nashville.

Guitarist Jeff Coplan, who hails from Montreal but moved to New York when he was 19, told Yorkton This Week the band draws on a varied range of musical interests to come up with their sound.

“Being four guys we have a broad range of musical influences, from AC/DC to Tupac to The Beatles to The Eagles to Garth Brooks to David Bowie; all the way to Prince and too many more in between to mention,” he said.

The result is a sound they have called ‘Redneck Rock.’

The current line-up of Blackjack Billy has Noll Billings from Kennett, which is in the Boot Heel of Missouri, as the lead singer. Bassist Clayton Shay is from Bloomington IL, and Weston Jordan is born and raised in Nashville, and Coplan.

“Noll and I met as songwriters in Nashville in 2012,” said Coplan. “We hit it off immediately and started writing regularly together. Soon we had a few songs we loved that we realized we didn’t want to pitch to other artists. 

“The style of music we were naturally writing made us really want to perform them live so right then we decided to start a band. We bought a used converted airport shuttle bus, hit the road and haven’t turned back yet. Wes has been with us for a little over a year and Clay is the newest young blood. He’s been with us for about six-months.”

Their debut single, ‘The Booze Cruise,’ was independently released in March 2013. In 2014 the debut disk Rebel Child hit the streets.

“Noll and I are the principal song writers,” said Coplan.“We write often just the two of us, usually while traveling. 

“We also co-write with a variety of Nashville songwriters. That’s the beauty of Nashville, it’s such a collaborative town and there are so many talented writers.”

Coplan said they draw from all sorts of influences when it comes to writing.

“There’s no one way we come up with a song,” said Coplan. “Sometimes it’s a song title that sparks everything, other times it’s a guitar riff I may come up with. 

“We definitely spend the most time crafting the lyrics, often going back after the initial write and reworking it until we are happy with every line.”

So through the process what is Coplan’s favourite song?

“It’s hard to come up with one specific thing,” said Coplan. “I think in general we get the most joy when we see fans singing along to something we wrote with big smiles on their faces. That’s when we realize we have helped in our own little way to make somebody’s day just a bit better. 

“That extends to the heartfelt stories we hear from some fans that have used our music to help them through hard times. 

“It never gets lost on us the positive power that music has and we are super proud to be able to create some and share it.” 

© Copyright Yorkton This Week

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