Rock legends never die, and this can certainly be said of Billy Crain, one of the great names in southern rock, who’s recently released his fourth solo album, ‘Family Matters’.
Billy Crain has seen it all. He played for over a million people on the Fourth of July in Washington DC, and in front of nobody in a club called Losers, one Christmas Eve. He’s met and played with all the greats of rock and roll, and recorded and toured with many of them, including the Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, and The Outlaws to name a few – and with his brother Tommy opened for the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers and The Rolling Stones. Billy Crain imbues in ‘Family Matters’ the love and passion that only a true artist can.
With a sound that’s a cross between Larry Norman and John Fogerty comes Billy Crain’s latest album, ‘Family Matters’. It’s not Crain’s first solo album – he released ‘Skeletons In The Closet’ in 2010, then in 2011 he went on a humanitarian trip to Haiti with his wife Sandy, following the death of his brother Tommy the month before. The trip to Haiti resulted in not just a great relationship forged between the Crains and that country, but also in his second solo work, ‘Creole Shoes’. Part of the proceeds from CD sales of that album went to Chadasha, an organisation funding Haitian orphanages.
Billy and his wife Sandy fostered (and later adopted) Stella and Dallas – songs on his 2012 album, ‘Silent Roar’ came the experiences of fostering Stella, with proceeds going to help fund the Papillon Center in Tennessee, which helps the families of children born with Foetal Alcohol Spectral Disorder.
‘Family Matters’, released in September last year, shows in one album what matters most to Crain – God and his family. A committed Christian, Crain imbues his love of God in every song, and his sincerity and humility is evident. Lyrically he also reminds us of Norman; not afraid to touch on the subjects that other faith-motivated artists might not go near, Crain clearly believes in the old adage, “Why should the devil have all the good music?” And good music it is: with all songs written (apart from ‘Lucky Penny’, on which he collaborated with his wife Sandy), engineered, produced, mixed, and mastered by Crain – he also played all the instruments and did all the programming – it’s truly a mammoth effort of skill illustrating this man’s talent.
With ten songs on the album it’s hard to choose a favourite, but obvious highlights would have to be the aforementioned ‘Lucky Penny’, written on the morning of the Sandy Hook shootings, the song is moving: written from the perspective of a parent of one of the victims. Title track, ‘Family Matters’, is another favourite, a biographical song where Crain outlines his family tree, and final track, ‘1928’, written after he found out about the true circumstances of his mother’s adoption.
You can find Billy Crain online on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Youtube, and his website. ‘Family Matters’ is available to stream on Soundcloud. You can buy it on CD or as a digital download from his website or from Bandcamp.