I have actually been an avid listener of Roots Music, and many other forms of music throughout my own youth but it really culminated at a rapid pace when Heavy Metal and Hair Metal began evolving into alternative music. That one thing alone brought me out into the road further toward other genres like “Americana” or “Alt- Country” and others.
I spent a lot of time getting into bands that defied one specific genre or sound. There were so many of them to discover and continue to follow, and honestly all of them I still follow now. Country and Rock were mixing and I spent a long time enjoying that. So many bands influenced me like Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Black Oak Arkansas, and that lead into bands like Split Lip Rayfield and BR5-49.
During all of that time I went through a nasty marriage and a divorce that relied heavily on music to heal, so in 2009 I began seeking some of the new, small time local bands, because they spoke to me more than any of the mainstream bands did at that time. I was opened up to a unique world of bands that played different styles of music lumped into a community they called Roots Music.
I used a brand new method of finding music without leaving my home, because at that time, long gone were the days of hanging around the record stores to find new bands and artists to listen to. The vinyl craze as it’s called ( I dunno, I always was one) had not begun yet, and streaming like Spotify hadn’t come close to being a thing yet. But I will tell you what was…..MySpace. You remember it don’t you? Did I find YOUR MUSIC on it? Did we meet on it?
It was there I found him, this young man named Billy Cook. He didn’t have an official band he belonged to ( and that is my opinion, not necessarily official ) but when I first encountered him he was with the .357 String Band where he was a part of their album Lightning From The North”. Now, through the period of many years I remember him playing with The Calamity Cubes, and Bob Wayne And The Outlaw Carnies.
I did not know him as well as many of y’all did, and I don’t have any really good stories about him. But I can certainly tell you that he had an immense impact on me through music. See, like me, many of these old metal heads and punk metal heads were loving Bluegrass and Country. Billy Cook was one of the many people that brought about the form and the structure of music like Larry And His Flask, Filthy Still, and Black Tarpoon.
I remember he and Dan Infecto played shows with Billy Don Burns and he also released an album in 2013 called “Left To Remember”, and I remember him playing with other bands as well. I wanted to share a few videos I found of his on Youtube.
I am not one of those people that wanted to make a big article about how close we were and how we were friends for years, I just wanted to share with you much of an impact his music had on my life. Neither Billy or Dan knew how much joy their music brought me at a dark time in my life, where I was socially damaged.
All of the guys and gals involved with this community of shows and festivals that included me even though I was a little different. Once they all found my passion of the music and how much it enriched my life, I felt accepted and actually wanted at their shows.
Maybe someone else is feeling unwanted and rejected right now. Maybe someone is using their music to heal. Maybe one of the musicians from this community needs to knows someone was listening. That someone was me.
Thanks Mr. Billy