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L.A. Beat

Redneck rockers Blackjack Billy all about having a good time

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 Who are Blackjack Billy? Are they the current standard bearers of  the current sub-genre of modern country  called  Bro Country? They could be with songs like  “Blood, Sweat and Beers,”  “Get Some” and their breaking hit “Booze Cruise.” Are they Rascal Flatts playing  rock and Blackjack Billy’s Noll Billings and Jeff Coplan play Lethbridge, Dec. 7. Photo by Richard Ameryroll— they could be based on their vocal harmonies. Or are they Nashville’s best bar band? The only thing they have in common with country music is they call Nashville their homes and they get played on modern country radio stations. Either way the band played for a decent Sunday night, happily dancing audience at Average Joes, Dec. 7.

They aptly bill themselves a “redneck rock” and showed they are all about having a good time. They played their raw set on a bare stage decorated only by a bass amp, Marshall stack, drum kit and Blackjack Billy banner hanging at the back of the stage.

They began with “Blood, Sweat and Beers” which lead to plenty of pretty girls immediately taking to the dance floor, which in turn lead to frontman Noll Billings asking the crowd why there weren’t any guys out on the floor with them and the party got started as a few joined them.

The band, who met as songwriters, played their hits and several medleys of songs showing off their many influences from sleazy rock like Buck Cherry (“Crazy Bitch”),  Guns N’ Roses (“Paradise City”) , Aerosmith (“Sweet Emotion”) plus  laid back Bob Marley style reggae grooves,  some modern country with Jamey Johnson’s “ In Colour” and some southern rock with a few bars of the Charlie Daniels Band’s  “Can’t You See,” a lot of pop music and a lot of hip hop music as many of their lyrics were rapped. They also added a bit of Canadiana with an excellent cover of  Tim Hicks’ “ We’ve Got Stronger Beer” which had the audience shouting along. 

  Noll Billings sang most of the lyrics for most songs and added extra acoustic guitar for a couple of others. Bassist Rob Blackledge sang impressive falsetto on some of their addictively catchy original songs  including “Working on You” and in the more pop inspired medleys, while most guitar work was left to Jeff Coplan as drummer Brad Cummings kept everything together rhythm-wise.

One of the highlights was a more serious themed, though still addictively catchy, “ Sneaky Jesus.”Blackjack Billy bassist Rob Blackledge. Photo by Richard Amery

“ I’ve Got A Feeling” was another highlight and as expected they ended with “ Booze Cruise.”

Trevor Panczak and Rough Stock opened up the show with a solid set of country covers including his  mix of “Wagon Wheel” and “ If I Had  A Million Dollars,” Alabama’s “Love in the First Degree” and some Kentucky Headhunters  plus several originals including his latest single “ For a Girl.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 December 2014 12:30 )  
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