BILLY THOMPSON | Composer/Musical Director
Billy Thompson’s performances have captured audiences in the U.S. and throughout Europe, setting the tone for this veteran musician’s songwriting, singing and guitar playing, both live and in the studio. In his original music, he combines world-class slide guitar, searing licks and soulful vocals with a unique amalgamation of styles including blues, rock, funk, New Orleans and soul. Some say, “It’s like Hendrix meets Little Feat!” Billy has played with legends such as Little Milton, Albert King, Earl King and Art Neville, while opening for the likes of Robert Cray, B.B. King, Sonny Landreth, The Neville Brothers and Joe Cocker, to name a few. He has performed on Barbara Walter’s “The View” and with the San Diego Symphony. He also performed for the grand opening of L.A.’s House of Blues. Billy has been invited to play with such icons as the Doobie Brothers, Bill Payne, John Mooney and Ron Holloway. He has provided lead guitar for the Broadway show Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues and for Award-winning playwright Keith Glover’s Bluesical, Thunder Knocking on the Door, Billy also served as musical supervisor for Geva Theatre’s 2015 “Journey to the Son” in Rochester, NY. A tribute to Son House, BT and band also played the festival. His eighth release, BT, brings all of Billy’s original musical influences to bear. It boasts familiar sonic shapes thrown in by long-time musical luminaries such as Mike Finnigan (Jimi Hendrix / Bonnie Raitt), James “Hutch” Hutchinson (Bonnie Raitt), Grammy winner Tony Braunagel (Taj Mahal), BB King’s Nola All Star band mate Daryl Johnson (Neville Brothers / Rolling Stones), West Coast band mates James East (Eric Clapton), Michael Leroy Peed (Joe Williams) and Danny Campbell (Leo Nocintelli), in addition to the East Coast band: Eric Selby (Soul Stew), Gene Monroe, Michelle Lucas and Rob Cowart. BT made the Top 25 on Blues Charts including Living Blues Magazine and Roots Music Report. Billy’s 2012 release, “A Better Man,” was produced by Grammy winner, Tony Braunagel (Eric Burdon, Robert Cray). A host of world class players are featured including Mike Finnigan, eight-time Grammy winner Johnny Lee Schell (Phantom Blues Band), Kenny Gradney, James “Hutch” Hutchinson, Lenny Castro (Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones) and The Texacali Horns’ Joe Sublett & Darrell Leonard (Phantom Blues Band/ Little Feat). “A Better Man” was nominated by Blues Blast Magazine for 2012 Contemporary Blues Album of the Year and received excellent reviews, including “Bluesbreaker of the Week” on Dan Aykroyd’s “Elwood’s House of Blues Hour” and “B.B. King’s Bluesville’s Pick To Click.” Recent Billy Thompson solo and band performances include a residency with the BB King’s Nola All Stars, 2017 to present, NPR’s MountainStage, San Diego Blues Festival 2015, BB Kings (NYC), House of Blues (Chicago/Orlando), Humphrey’s Concerts By the Bay (San Diego), Western Maryland Blues Festival, Washington Folk Festival (DC), Paoli Blues Festival (Philadelphia, PA), New York State Blues Festival and the Michelob Blues Festival (Dayton,OH).