Billy TK Jnr: Presenting Billy TK Jnr (Ode)

 |   |  1 min read

Billy TK Jnr: Nothing But the Blues
Billy TK Jnr: Presenting Billy TK Jnr (Ode)

It's odd that this album should be called "Presenting" given that Auckland-based guitarist Billy TK Jnr has been taking his brand of tough Texas blues around the bars and clubs of New Zealand (and to Texas) for about two decades.

Perhaps the reason he isn't a household name is that he has been known to take sabbaticals and go get "a real job" (banking once if I recall, the army another time), and that this kind of music grounded in Stevie Ray Vaughan and drinks from the top shelf isn't popular at most radio -- and certainly not on television music shows.

My guess is that people in government funding agencies don't get it either and probably feel it a bit common and beneath them.

Billy also has another problem: he is an absolutely extraordinary guitar player who is as hard as nails and can make that thing scream and cry -- but he makes it all look too easy.

I saw him launch this album in Auckland and he peeled paint off the walls -- yet did it with barely a grimace. A younger player in a rock band would have made expressive faces at every effortless bend of a note.

So there are the problems facing Billy -- yes, the son of famed Human Instinct/Powerhouse guitarist -- but here is what he has in his favour: he plays exceptional blues guitar, delivers an intense live performance, has a cracking band, and now has an album of tough-minded originals as a launch pad when he tours the country in the coming weeks.

On the night of the launch Billy -- who is also a gentleman -- acknowledged the presence in the crowd of two people he looked up to and respected: Hammond Gamble and Midge Marsden.

It was a genuine gesture and my guess is that among the people gathered there were a few looking at Billy with a similar kind of respect. As they should.

Billy TK Jnr will always have a hard road because the style of music he plays is best heard in pubs and clubs, and it doesn't follow fashion.

But that takes nothing away from the sheer talent this man has, quite literally, at his fingertips. Here's the evidence.

 

 

 

Share It

Your Comments

Tama K - Feb 10, 2009

Very Nice Your Are An Inspiration and Mark to be Reached...Regards, Tama k

post a comment

More from this section   Blues articles index

Joe Louis Walker: Hellfire (Alligator)

Joe Louis Walker: Hellfire (Alligator)

From the opening title track this often incendiary album is a conflagration fed by tough blues, psychedelic guitar playing and Walker's frequently soulful voice. He reaches to the fist-tight... > Read more

Watermelon Slim and Super Chicken: Okiesippi Blues (NorthernBlues)

Watermelon Slim and Super Chicken: Okiesippi Blues (NorthernBlues)

In Clarksdale, Mississippi I saw a singer/guitarist who called himself Howl N Mudd, which was certainly a man covering his bases. (That story is here.) The juke joint he played in was very popular... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

NEIL FINN AND CROWDED HOUSE (2010): The returning son

NEIL FINN AND CROWDED HOUSE (2010): The returning son

Many, many years ago Neil Finn told me he believed bands, and he was referring to Split Enz at the time, had a natural lifespan. Some years after that – in 2001 when he was well into a... > Read more

Little Feat and Friends: Join the Band (429/Shock)

Little Feat and Friends: Join the Band (429/Shock)

That Little Feat survived the death of founder Lowell George back in 79 wasn't so surprising. Much as George was the charismatic, stoned frontman there was no denying that this was a band of... > Read more