Charlottesville, Virginia’s young country rockers, Sons of Bill, began making music together in the fall of 2005. During the previous year, the three Wilson brothers were at very different stages in their lives: One a grad student in Maryland, one attending college on a cattle ranch in Nevada, and one a free-lance musician in NYC. It seemed as though their musical ventures together would be limited to the Wilson family room during holidays. But while away, they all felt the need to get back to their roots, get back home to Virginia, and get back to the music they grew up with.
“I guess you could say it all began when I visited Sam in Brooklyn just before Christmas time,” says singer-guitar player James Wilson. “I was getting ready to graduate from school out west, and Sam was ready to get out of the city. Though Sam and I took our musical abilities in very different directions, all three brothers have the common musical roots of the folk and country our Dad played growing up as kids. We sang some Gram Parsons and some Hank Williams, had a little too much bourbon and decided to start a band.”
With middle brother Abe on keys and banjo, and the addition of Seth Green on bass and a rotating cast of top notch drummers, Sons of Bill was set. What developed was a sound that is distinctly country, and yet blended with the guitar rock sensibility of antecedents Steve Earle, Drive-By Truckers and others. Needless to say, the band speaks to a wide demographic. At any given Sons of Bill show you will find 50-somethin’s of the Haggard generation, frat boys, even indie rockers all singing along to the same songs.
“We really just wanted to capture the timeless spirit of country music without denying the rock influences we’ve all accumulated in various bands over the years,” adds guitarist Sam Wilson. “We’re not trying to jump on the ‘alt-country’ bandwagon, but we certainly don’t have our eyes set on Nashville. There is no concept here, or artificially constructed aesthetic–We’re just 5 young guys who focus on writing good songs and playing our asses off every time we set foot on stage.”
The hard-touring Sons of Bill are packing houses locally and gaining fans regionally at colleges and clubs throughout Virginia, Washington DC, North Carolina and New York. After winning UVA’s Battle of the Bands, Sons of Bill recorded their first full-length record A Far Cry From Freedom, which has sold over 1000 copies, and received airplay throughout central Virginia — all within their first 8 months as a band. Far Cry has since been re-mixed and re-mastered and is spreading on airwaves throughout the South. Now, with over a year under their belts, Sons of Bill are set to take their unique brand of hard-hitting country and American Rock n’ Roll up and down the east coast.