Holiday Music

A few years ago Billy and the Spook Lights (Jim Hemphill, Kenneth “Mudbone” Welch, Ric Furley) recorded a version of “Winter Wonderland” for a compilation album. Today, John Farrell tweaked it and freshened it with a rockin’ pedal steel guitar part.  Check it out.  http://billyeli.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Winter-Wonderland-mix-1.mp3...

People Like Us are Fearless Families

I have partnered up with attorney Pamela Parker! We first partnered up many years ago when we got married and started raising our four kids together. Two of those kids have serious special needs – one with autism and one with cerebral palsy.  Over the years we’ve learned how to  beat out our own path in life, finding laughter and love in everything that happens, even the things that we wish wouldn’t  have happened. Our life includes special needs, it’s not defined by special needs. Our personal partnership has been great, and for some reason continually surprises people.  When people hear Pam is married to a honky tonk star, she gets a doubletake, then I see the wheels in their head struggling to realign, then “Wow.  Really? That must be fun.”   I usually get “Dude! You married a lawyer???? How’d you do that?” We’ve also spent a lot of our separate professional lives working for special needs families.  I’ve played many fundraising events for a variety of special needs causes, and Pam’s legal practice serves mostly special needs families. Finally, we’ve partnered up in the professional realm.  Our project, the Fearless Family Tour, brings Pam’s information about special needs planning to families along with my music concert, peppered with stories that all fearless families out there will identify with.  We have some other projects in the works that will raise money to help more families get their special kids set up for the future. We’ve created a facebook community  to let families connect with each other. We have found the people like us, and they are fearless families.  We all have dreams and together we...

The Devil’s at the Door – the Writing of “Lost Behind the Wall”

Lost Behind the Wall is a unique song for me.  My best friend Lewis ran into some serious trouble that irreversibly changed his life forever, and I wanted to write a tribute song to him.  The song is about events that actually happened. A lot of my songs are based on real people, but the stories I tell about those people are not biographical.  And while my songs are almost always written in first person, they are not autobiographical either. This song, though, is inspired by real, actual events.  I wanted to tell the story, but I didn’t want to do a standard narrative style – A happened, then B happened, etc. I wrote in my usual, most favored style, which is to paint images using the fewest possible words.  The story, for me, is about despair and its consequences.  By using images without the narrative storyline, I was able to give listeners some wiggle room to take whatever parts of the song that speak to them and make the story personal to their own experience. After all, the devil knocks on everybody’s door eventually....

Ken Stringfellow on Working as a Musician

Ken Stringfellow, who worked on my new record (The UnExplainable Billy Eli), is currently touring in Europe with his own new record, Danzig in the Moonlight.  He lives in Paris, grew up in Seattle, and rarely stays his ass in anywhere longer than a week.  Here’s a little interview he did about being a working musician.   Faces of the Music Biz: Ken Stringfellow     Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane and freedigitalphotos.net      Image courtes...

Marilyn Monroe, Life, Songwriting, and Moby Dick

Watched the movie Moby Dick again last night.  I’m kind of fascinated by the story.   Ahab is obsessed with this magnificent whale, and wants nothing so badly as to catch it for no other reason than because it is so magnificent.  What he doesn’t realize is that the very act of catching it will destroy what makes it magnificent. Ahab wants it because he admires it. My song She Looked Like Marilyn Monroe is written on this same theme, wanting to “catch” something that only exists in its natural state, but that can’t be caught because the catching of it destroys the very thing that is desirable.  Marilyn Monroe is just like the great white whale. She only existed in the context for which she was made.  She wasn’t a real woman.  Catching her would reveal that the real woman playing the character was just like everyone else.   Changing the context destroys the thing.  The great whale is not great and magnificent lying on the deck of a ship.  Marilyn Monroe is not the same always perfectly sexy, desirable and glamorous woman if you see her day in and day out, doing ordinary things like an ordinary person. Norma Jean may have been a wonderful woman and may have made a loving and devoted wife, but that would be Norma Jean, not Marilyn Monroe.  Marilyn Monroe exists only in the plane of existence which she was created to inhabit. In most of our lives, there is something that we see only through the lens that excludes reality.  The movie star we fantasize about and love as long we...

Out of the Woods Interview

Billy spent an hour or so with Jon Colcord at WSCS in New London, New Hampshire last week.  He talked  a little, played a little, and told a few stories.  You can listen to the appearance here: Out of the Woods podcast ...