Some of the best country music came out in the 70s, when enough of the counter culture leaked into southern music. It was a time when outlaws listened to soul records wrapped in a haze of pot smoke. Portland, Oregon four-piece The Lonesome Billies nail that 70s country vibe!
The Billies explore themes that are consistent in more traditional country music: death and sorrow, hard work, hell-raising, morality, and loneliness. The Lonesome Billies filter these tropes through the anti-establishment ethos of 70s punk rock with their straightforward approach to song-writing and arrangements. We are happy to premiere their new album, “Right On Time” now!
Here’s what the band had to say about the breakdown of the new record:
Five Dollar Bill is about the struggle to make ends meet with a dead-end job and the anxieties that come along with that. It’s also about keeping hope alive through dreaming of a better future. Good Ol Complacency is a groovy song about the negative voices we all battle inside our own minds. It’s that voice that says, “you’re not worthy of this,” or “you can’t; just give up now”. 

Sad Old Man is the tale of an unknown musician who sings about making it big after being discovered by “a better looking man with a name of his own” after his own death. 

If Yer Gonna Hang me is for the haters. Ya can’t let ’em get ya down, Billies. Just gotta keep your head down and do your thing no matter what they say.

Tall Cotton is about a man’s stubbornness getting the best of him. He struggles to find a balance between his self-destructive nature and a growing sense of mortality. Ultimately he finds himself in the heart of a bender realizing that his way of living isn’t doing him any favors. 

Pine Box is about a cantankerous and senile old man who dies in his sleep but doesn’t know it. He gets confused and thinks his coffin is just a new home that his family has dumped him off at where there are no windows, lights, or doors. Freshly buried, he becomes annoyed at people who keep weeping outside of his door, which to us, is just the graveyard he was buried in.  

Away From My Big City Dreams is about the real need inside all human beings to get out in to nature, to hit the open road with just a few supplies and sit out under the stars. “On to the mountains, stars in my eyes, away from my big city dreams.” 

Just Tryin To Live centers around a drifter who roams from dive to dive philosophizing with other regulars who are bellied up at the bar. It’s like a barfly’s version of Kung Fu The Legend Continues. There is wisdom buried somewhere within his live-and-let-live approach to life, and if you catch it, great, but he would sooner move on and be forgotten than remembered.

Good Example Of A Bad Example is a classic “let my life be a warning” sort of song. Even in tough times, the character understands that happiness is a mindset and not a result of one’s circumstances. 

Sunday Night Ramblin’ Man is kind of a companion piece to “Five Dollar Bill” thematically, but it deals more with escapism. The dread of the looming work week can be a bummer, and sometimes it just feels right to go big on a Sunday night.

Guys Like Us is about good-timing, hard-working, blue-collar folks, salt of the earth kinds of people who don’t care how much money’s in your pocket. There’s no better way, to be wasting time than with guys like us in a bar at the end of the line!

Tulsa Time is a cover of a Don Williams tune. We were in the studio and decided to start messing around with it. We’d never even played it before that afternoon, but it came together in a couple minutes, so we tracked it, and BAM! Thematically, it fit with all the other songs: a guy heads west looking for his big break and after a while realizes he might be better off to cut bait and head for home. 

Preorder the album here. 


Addison is reviews and online news editor for New Noise. She specializes in metal, queer issues, and dog cuddles.

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