Billy Two Shoes

Billy Two Shoes

Formed in 2008 in Columbus, Ohio by James Gettles and Jason Cowans, Billy Two Shoes initially took shape from a personal challenge to record a full length album in a weekend, just to see if it could be done.

Out of that weekend, two things emerged; the first, Billy Two Shoes' album "Appalachian Memoirs", a collection of uniquely Ohio based Americana with a twist. The second, the decision that any sales and profits of Billy Two Shoes music would go to help feedin’ folks back home. James and Jason have roots in two areas of Appalachia (Gallia County, Ohio and Logan, WV) that have always had trouble finding money to help feed the needy. They decided that they'd lend a hand, and began the experiment in giving that is Billy Two Shoes.

Passing "Appalachian Memoirs" among friends, playing small gigs, and getting the music out on internet radio, B2S began to build up steam. Early comparisons were drawn to Ween and bluesy alternative country, with "hillbilly Pink Floyd" being mentioned more than once. The important addition of Gary Harden (out of Chapel Hill, NC with roots in Hinton, WV) helped the Billies solidify their sound and gathered up a local following of fans and musicians... enough to begin a second album.

Released in 2009, "New Shoes" is full of enthusiasm and grooving acoustic soul. That Southern Ohio sound comes through loud and clear, with a Beatlesque flavor and always a nod to bluegrass and country roots. Intermixed with the harp of Dan Rees, Gary's electric slide work, Jason's punchy drummin', and even a bit of homemade pvc flute and penny whistle, tunes like "Times ain't so tough", "Best that you leave it alone", and "Doin' what you can" all point right at the general Billy philosophy. But then again, so do the ornery "Ain't going out today" and "Nursery Gin", odes to settin' still and that you don’t get to ante up at the end. A special treat is "Poem about a Pig", a poem penned by James' Great-Grandpa put to music.

Spurred on by the success of "New Shoes", the Billy crew began to grow in preparation for a third release. Banjo player Josh Coy joined in 2009 to help nail down that soulgrass sound during live gigs. Josh Lawson took over the helm of lead vocals in 2010 and brought his mandolin along, giving them Billies Kentuckybred street cred. And Sean Jenkins joined as well in 2010 on lead slide and dobro guitars. When Gary comes up from North Carolina he and Sean are somethin' else to hear, thats for sure.

During this time, them Billies kept right on recordin'. Internet and local interest had grown dramatically, and offers of help from other musicians came darn near pouring in. The third Billy album, "Full Breakfast", now has a laundry list of fantastic players from literally the world over. Artists from the Netherlands, Liverpool, Colorado, and North Carolina can be heard on the soon to be released album. All told, 12 folks added themselves to the mix to help get people food that need it on the newest Billy album.

And thats important to not forget. Since that weekend in 2008, absolutely all proceeds have gone to food pantries. All band members, and anyone that has given time, energy, music, support, or lent a hand, has done so completely for free in order to send more dollars to those in need. The Billies have been able to branch out to additional food pantries in Mahoning County, Ohio and Manchester, Kentucky from the generous donations of time and money from everyone who helps out or gives a bit.

We hope y'all will give us a listen, and maybe lend a hand in doin' what we do. Hopefully we can help get a few bellies full in the meantime. -The Billies