Exclusive Interview with Billy Jeter
In what city, state and country do you reside? Little Rock Arkansas, USA
How long have you been making music, and what is your favorite part of it?Six years, My favorite part is listening and watching a music idea become become a song. Then the cutting and pruning, playing and recording it. It is like watching something go from kindergarten to finishing grad school.
In what genre or style would you classify your music?
My music is a bit confused, My mothers family comes from the Ozark mountain region and her family was full of musicians and artist. My fathers family came form the Arkansas/Mississippi Delta and were extraordinary story tellers. Plus my formative years were in the golden age of music, late sixties, early seventies. I guess maybe Americana roots but with an occasional rock or blues slant. It’s been an interesting journey so far.
Who are your top 5 musical influences? Also, please tell us who inspires you?
Robbie Robertson, Rodney Crowell, Robert Hunter, Gillian Welch and obviously Bob Dylan. Adventure inspires me in so many ways, music and everyday life. People that sacrifice for the betterment of everyone inspire me. Fighting the everyday injustice that is forced on us inspires me, writing a song that highlights the dismissal of the environment that we live in inspires me.
What do you want your fans to take from your music after they leave the venue where you have just performed?
The songs I write and perform are serious investments for me. I tell a story in every single song and do my best to express that in my and or my bands performance. Hopefully the story theme comes thorough and someone says, man that guy is passionate, entertaining , and has a meaningful message.
What is the best concert you have been to?
What do you like most about playing live? Neil Young in Dallas at the Meyerson Symphony Center, 4/17/2014. What I like most about playing live is watching and listening to the audience enjoying our music.
Is there a song on your latest CD release here that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?
Sins of Me is a bit of an autobiography. Plus it is really fun to play live.
How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?
I have gotten to the point that I write song and can tell if it needs to be stored away for more work later or just get out and play it. Plus with the Rona, I appreciate every single person that comes out to watch me live. Taking that for granted isn’t an option for me.
If you could meet, play a gig with, co-write a song with, have dinner with or have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be? Oh hell that is easy! The Grateful Dead. Their music is timeless and it has taken me forty years to understand that.
How many songs /albums have you released to date? Would you mind telling us a little bit about them?
I have released three albums to date and have the fourth finished in the studio. The first album I recorded just for the experience of the whole process. I had some really great help to get me through that. My second album, Songdog Blues was a challenge to myself to see if I could write and perform a full folkrock album and enjoy it when I was through. I still really like Songdog Blues and several of the songs always are prominent in my live shows. I don’t know a better show ending song than Burn it Down! My third album “House on Fire” was made to be a little more commercially successful. It suffered because of that. Even with that albatross around its neck it has some songs that I am really proud of. Sundown Town tells a story that every person in America should learn, my youtube of that song is inspiring to lots of people. Also House on Fire paints a vivid picture of the exploitation of our civilization, All the Sad Goodbyes is a look in the future of wildlife and what is in front of them.
Can you tell us about your latest release and the background/inspirations behind it?
Sins of Me was written immediately after the end of my tour last year. I had played to full houses and not so full houses across six states and was finishing in the iconic songwriter venue, Poor David’s Pub in Dallas Texas. The crowd was less than I had hoped and I’m sure less than the venue had expected. We played a really good show, picked up our equipment and drove back to Little Rock. On the way I had the epiphany that full house or part of the house I was following in the footsteps of most every artist that had ever done a tour. I really love the song and the story it tells. Plus the musicians that played on this song are spectacular.
What is your dream gig?
A music festival with a great crowd that really gets in to my songs.
Whose music do you listen to? Who are your influences?
Right now Bob Dylan’s new album, and Katie Toupin. My influences today are The Band, Rodney Crowell and The Ozark Mountain Daredevils.
If you had to, where would you place yourself in the “Sounds Like” category?
Man I hope I’m unique.
How have you ended up in the music industry?
What would you be doing if you were not a musician? Music has always been in me, It was inevitable that I would be writing and playing somewhere. If not for this I would still be looking for the next adventure.
How do you and your musical style differ from other artists?
I feel unless you are a cover artist, each musician’s style is different from everyone else. I really feel this is the true profession of hard knocks. What works for John or Jane Doe doesn’t mean it will work for you. You have to plough your own furrow form fence row to fence row.
What other hobbies or interests do you have?
Hiking, fly fishing, bird watching, wild flower gazing, canoeing and hanging with my bird dogs and traveling with my wife Susan.
Tell us more about your upcoming project or this new project?
My new album is a true labor of love. I am making this album for me. The songs range from an Ozark hillbilly hiphop song to a ballad for my late uncle. I have musicians from Little Rock to Crested Butte Colorado playing on this and I love the diversity. I might make it a double album, it is a lot of fun.
Can you tell us the music distribution portals where your music is available?
My music is available at all the popular streaming services (Spotify, Apple, Tidal etc). My CD’s can be purchased through a portal on my website www.billyjeterandshineye.com . My new album will also be available for the first time on vinyl and I am really looking forward to that.
Can you have increasing commercial success and retain your artistic integrity? It’s worth a try! I assume you use Spotify to promote your music. How are you doing there and how can fans find you on Spotify?
I am sporadically played on the platforms, I have good days and some days I am missing in action. It is really encouraging though to see someone in Bergen Norway play Going Back to Colorado. I never get tired of that thrill. My first album is under Billy Jeter and Parkstone, all other music is simply Billy Jeter. Dig deep please!
Can you tell us your official website URLs where fans can find you online?
www.billyjeterandshineye.com (Shineye is the name of my band0
What is in the pipeline after this project?
I am releasing my fourth album in the spring and hope to get out to perform them in the future. A couple of more singles should show up before the album comes out.Thank you for your time and may you continue making great music. thanks for taking time to read this, I hope my music makes you have a good feeling or inspires you to make a difference. It does for me.
End of Interview