Billy Eli The Unexplainable Billy Eli (Errant Records, 2013)
I am fortunate to live in a world that is filled with music. Music is my life, and every once in a while an artist comes along that grabs my attention by the short hairs. This is by no means an everyday occurrence, mind you. It happens only once every few years. When it does, I feel lucky. That’s exactly how I felt when I was first turned on to the music of Billy Eli.
This Texas songwriter immediately brought to mind so many of my past favorites, people like Townes Van Zant, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver and Steve Earle. His songs are rich. That’s the best word I can think of to describe them. And the songs are a true extension of the artist. I hear so many hints of influences in Billy’s music - everything from the aforementioned artists to Waylon Jennings; Southern rockers like The Marshall Tucker Band and The Allman Brothers Band; rockers like Jason & The Scorchers and The Blasters. But these are merely elements, woven into the fabric of the spirit that makes up Billy Eli. All of this, along with a wicked sense of humor and an amazingly outgoing personality, blend together to create a one of a kind entertainer, both on stage and on record. Unexplainable? You bet your ass. But I don’t need no explantation. That’s like trying to explain why I love a sunset. Why I love enchiladas and Lone Star beer.
Personally, I feel like Billy Eli ages like a fine wine. He gets better and better. I feel that the CD you hold in your hands represents Eli’s finest work to date. “She Looked Just Like Marilyn Monroe” is in my short list of the greatest songs of all time. No kidding. And every song here is equally compelling.
Billy Eli is a Texas treasure. He’s like a nice bottle of tequila. Sometimes smooth, other times it kicks your ass. Drink him in. And by all means, swallow the worm.
- Michael Buffalo Smith, Kudzoo Magazine