Last week, a group of incredibly talented musicians ventured down the East Coast to play a handful of shows for Dogwood Events‘ inaugural #PBJTour. They visited four cities — New York City, Philadelphia, Charlotte, and Atlanta — and blew away crowds each and every night with their amazing performances.
As a post-tour spotlight series, we’ll be diving in and highlighting each one of these wonderful artists individually. First up, we’re taking a closer look at the genius behind those killer guitar riffs: Billy Moran.
What comes to mind when you hear the name Billy Moran? Brilliant guitarist…and an all around great person…with a secretly beautiful singing voice? Great, we’re on the same page then.
You may know Billy as the guitarist of Louden Swain and also The Station Breaks, two bands which have slightly different musical styles but are equally brilliant. However, outside of his association with those acts, Billy possesses such an impressive breadth of raw talent that it’s important to recognize him independently as an artist as well. Rather than settling down all of his musical expertise in one place, Billy regularly collaborates with a variety of musicians across genres.
Along with the two aforementioned bands, he has also provided guitar tracks for albums from other various artists, such as Gil McKinney’s How Was I To Know?, Briana Buckmaster’s Begin, and Jason Manns’ Covers With Friends and Recovering With Friends.
Billy’s foray into the world of music began long before his days with Louden Swain, as his natural skills came to fruition at the young age of eleven when he picked up his older brother’s guitar — and so began the journey of a promising musician. From middle school and on, he performed with several bands and eventually started his own (Circle of Karma.) He then moved on to another local act (X-IT), before eventually relocating to the West Coast and forming a rock band called Lost In Mayberry. After the aforementioned group split, he found his way to a band with who he truly belonged — Louden Swain. Their diverse style has always provided an excellent canvas for him to showcase the true depth of his abilities. The transformation and growth of Louden Swain’s music over the years is proof that Billy is continuously challenging himself to grow and excel as an artist. After hearing and watching Billy play the guitar, there’s absolutely no doubt that music is an intrinsic part of who he is as a person.
Though seeing Billy perform with Louden Swain and The Station Breaks is always a sight to behold, it was fantastic to see him step into a different role and stand out more individually as a musician on the #PBJTour. Complemented by the outstanding vocal talents of Briana, Billy wielded an acoustic guitar and masterfully picked his way across its frets with a variety of rhythms and melodies. Though the duo hasn’t quite settled on a name yet (“Don’t Ask Us!”), they had an extremely successful first run on tour together.
Witnessing Billy perform on stage in a more subdued setting on this tour, sans one of his many electric guitars, was a rare and exciting opportunity. The crowd was able to sit back and appreciate the carefully practiced ease with which his hands moved across the strings of his instrument, and the concentration he exhibited throughout to guarantee a flawless performance. It’s also essential to recognize the weight that is placed on an acoustic performer, in the absence of the beat of a drum kit, the rumble of bass lines, and the rhythms of a second guitar; Billy truly rocked this, in every sense of the word.
The duo performed an original number on the tour, “Going Home”, a song that is a true testament to Billy’s inherent music writing capabilities (yes, he’s not only adept at playing music, he’s also very skilled in composing it!) Also, to the utmost pleasure of Jason Manns and essentially every attendee throughout the tour, Billy sung verses for a variety of songs — “Wagon Wheel”, “Hallelujah”, “Shallow”, and he added in a goosebump-worthy harmony with Briana for “Carry On Wayward Son.” Perhaps most notably, he performed a lovely solo rendition of “Green, Green Rocky Road.”
Though his musical career has generally always involved him being a core component of a group ensemble, Billy really shines when performing alone. His talents clearly do not end with his mastery of the guitar and ability to write music, as his venture into singing has proven that he can, without a doubt, carry himself as a successful solo act.
One of the most remarkable things about Billy is his absolute dedication to his craft. When he performs, he’s putting in 110% and then some. When he’s recording, he’s working tirelessly to make the songs the absolute best that they can be. When he talks about his music, he exudes so much passion that there’s truly no question that this is what he’s meant to be doing with his life. Those hoping to learn a bit more about Billy’s musical background can check out an interview we had with him last year.
In our most recent interview with Billy on the #PBJTour, we gained some insight on what else he has planned, music-wise, moving forward. We already knew that new content from both Louden Swain and The Station Breaks is currently in the works, but there was a question as to what else he may be working on. Though there are no solid timelines in place, he and Briana are planning to release an album that includes original material at some point.
He also confirmed that, yes, we can expect more covers with him on vocals down the road, and even some original songs, too! It’s intriguing to look forward to the idea of Billy writing his own songs that he will both sing and play guitar on, because if his previous musical composition work with other artists and bands is anything to go off of — this next venture will be nothing short of amazing.
Billy’s next live performance will be with Louden Swain at The Echo in Los Angeles, CA on August 10. General admission tickets are still available, and can be purchased here. Additionally, he can be found at every one of Creation Entertainment’s Supernatural conventions, performing on stage all weekend with Louden Swain (upcoming dates can be found here) and will be attending this year’s Rockwood Music Festival in Germany.