Billy Crockett is a performing songwriter, music producer, recording artist, and the creative director of Blue Rock Studio in the Texas hill country. Billy is a multi-instrumentalist and has produced albums for Cliff Eberhardt, Grace Pettis, Beth Wood, RJ Cowdery, Darryl Purpose, and many others. He has been featured on the BMI songwriter panel at SXSW, the TV series Troubadour Texas, the Academy of Gospel Music Arts, and as guitar clinician for Yamaha.
He has recorded eleven solo albums, including the critically acclaimed Wishing Sky (folk/pop) and Passages (instrumental guitar). Passages was a transitional album, one that helped him limber up his skills—including his virtuosic guitar-playing—without facing the pressure of lyric writing. With Wishing Sky, he left those past limitations behind and started to spread his songwriting wings.
For several years Billy dedicated his time and efforts to mentoring and promoting up and coming musician-singer-songwriters… directed the creative output of a destination recording studio… supported local arts programs and managed songwriting sessions and creativity retreats out of Blue Rock Studio. Many of us, fortunate to spend time with Billy have relentlessly pushed and prodded him to dedicate the time to putting his music out there.
He finally decided the time was right and the result is the incredible new 12th album Rabbit Hole. He knew he wanted to cover more personal terrain this time, to write lyrics that might even unearth long-buried truths. You can hear the freedom he found… the fun he had… the joy of working with such season professionals as Austin bassist Roscoe Beck (Leonard Cohen, the Dixie Chicks), Nashville percussionist Eric Darken (Taylor Swift, Vince Gill, Jimmy Buffett) and Dallas-based electric guitarist Daran DeShazo.
As the sessions progressed, Crockett noticed another effect as well; a change in his rich tenor. It’s more relaxed now, he says, adding, “I’ve got a falsetto that I’m trusting now and a vibrato that’s fresh and new. I’m having a lot of fun rediscovering my sound.” He’s thrilled to find he’s still on what he calls his “growing edge.” That and the heady sense of liberation Crockett’s feeling have fueled his resolve to engage in all sorts of new experiences, musical and otherwise.
He also knew he would need guidance for that journey, so two years ago, he did something he’d been dreaming about: he established a salon of sorts, inviting fellow singer-songwriters to his Blue Rock Artist Ranch and Studio in Wimberley, Texas, outside of Austin, for weekly critique sessions. At each “Blue Tuesday,” participants perform a new song, followed by frank comments from the others. All but one of Rabbit Hole’s 11 songs went through the process, with further honing on stages throughout North America.
The result is an album filled with thoughtful, intimate—and deeply moving—lyrics combined with wonderfully crafted melodies drawing on jazz, pop, blues and soul. One also senses a general lightness of being, a state of contentment that comes from finally allowing himself to express observations of all sorts, unfettered by label or genre expectations.
“Life’s pretty damned short,” Crockett notes. “Let’s say what we mean.”
He does just that on Rabbit Hole, blending experience and metaphor while letting his imagination and curiosity take him where they might—even if, as in the title song, they send him down a rabbit hole into a place that’s not exactly wonderland.