There’s no question that Billy Crain ranks among the true legends of Southern Rock, having played guitar with such stars as Bobby Whitlock, The Henry Paul Band and now The Outlaws. The brother of Tommy Crain (Charlie Daniels Band), Billy is also an accomplished songwriter, having penned hits for such artists as The Bellamy Brothers, Restless Heart, Poco, Yankee Grey, Martina McBride, Sara Evans, James Otto, and The Dixie Chicks, among others. Now Billy has at last released his own debut solo album - emphasizing the word solo.
On Skeletons in the Closet, Billy played all the instruments, sang lead and backing vocals, and wrote or co-wrote all of the songs. That’s what I’m talking about.
The overall sound of the record is pure Southern Rock, reminiscent of the Henry Paul Band/Outlaws sound, from the acoustic driven rock of “Rise Up” to the highly melodic “Muddy Waters” and “White Picket Fence,” one of the albums finest tracks, a driving country-pop tune.
“Hard Times at Ridgemont High” is pure top 40 country, complete with mandolin. A great song about the changes in high school life between the 80’s and today. And the title track, “Skeletons in the Closet” is another good one. Crain is a masterful lyricist as well as writer of music, and it shows on every song on the album.
The last song on the record is my favorite of all, “Running with the Rebels,” a warning to those who try to straddle the line between the dark and the light.
“You can’t sing in the choir while your dancing in the fire/ You can’t fly with the angels when you’re running with the rebels.”
Good stuff. Great songs, great lyrics and lots of that red hot Billy Crain guitar. Don’t miss this one guys.
-Michael Buffalo Smith
(Available at cdbaby.com)