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Skeletons in the Closet

by: Billy Crain

Album Artwork

(Slidebilly)

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)

 

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Anyone could have stumbled onto it! Hell, Athaclena. We don't even know what it was that those poor neo-dolphins found! Last anyone heard, their ship was being chased from the Morgran transfer point to Ifni-knows-where by twenty different fleets-all fighting over the right to capture her." Robert discovered his pulse was beating hard. Clenched hands indicated just how much of his own tension was rooted in this topic. After all, it is frustrating enough whenever your universe threatens to topple in on you, but all the more so when the events that set it all off took place kiloparsecs away, amid dim red stars too distant even to be seen from home. Athaclena's dark-lidded eyes met his, and for the first time he felt he could sense a touch of understanding in them. Her long-fingered left hand performed a fluttering half turn. "I hear what you are saying, Robert. And I know that sometimes I am too quick to cast judgments. It is a fault my father constantly urges me to overcome. "But you ought to remember that we Tymbrimi have been Earth's protectors and allies ever since your great, lumbering slowships stumbled into our part of space, eighty-nine paktaars ago. It grows wearying at times, and you must forgive if, on occasion, it shows." "What grows wearying?" Robert was confused. "Well, for one thing, ever since Contact we have had to learn and endure this assemblage of wolfling clicks and growls you have the effrontery to call a language." Athaclena's expression was even, but now Robert believed he could actually sense a faint something emanating from those waving tendrils. It seemed to convey what a human girl might communicate with a subtle facial expression. Clearly she was teasing him. "Ha ha. Very funny." He looked down at the ground. "Seriously though, Robert, have we not, in the seven generations since Contact, constantly urged that you humans and your, clients go slow? 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The Jophur, the Soro, the Gubru, the Tandu-those powerful Galactic patron races which had time and again demonstrated their hostility to Mankind-if they failed to capture Streaker, their next step would be obvious. Sooner or later some clan would turn its attention to Garth, or Atlast, or Calafia--Earth's most distant and unprotected outposts- seeking hostages in an effort to pry loose the dolphins' mysterious secret. The tactic was even permissible, under the loose strictures established by the ancient Galactic Institute for Civilized Warfare. Some civilization, Robert thought bitterly. The irony was that the dolphins weren't even likely to behave as any of the stodgy Galactics expected them to. By tradition a client race owed allegiance and fealty to its patrons, the starfaring species that had "uplifted" it to full sentience. This had been done for Pan chimpanzees and Tursiops dolphins by humans even before Contact with starfaring aliens. In doing so, Mankind had unknowingly mimicked a pattern that had ruled the Five Galaxies for perhaps three billion years. By tradition, client species served their patrons for a thousand centuries or more, until release from indenture freed them to seek clients of their own. Few Galactic clans believed or understood how much freedom had been given dolphins and chims by the humans of Earth. It was hard to say exactly what the neo-dolphins on the Streaker's crew would do if humans were taken hostage. But that, apparently, wouldn't stop the Eatees from trying. Distant listening posts had already confirmed the worst. Battle fleets were coming, approaching Garth even as he and Athaclena stood here talking. "Which is worth more, Robert," Athaclena asked softly, "that collection of ancient space-hulks the dolphins are supposed to have found . . . derelicts that have no meaning at all to a clan as young as yours? Or your worlds, with their farms and parks and orbit-cities? I cannot understand the logic of your Terragens Council, ordering Streaker to guard her secret, when you and your clients are so vulnerable!" Robert looked down at the ground again. He had no answer for her. It did sound illogical, when looked at in that way. He thought about his classmates and friends, gathering now to go to war without him, to fight over issues none of them understood. It was hard. For Athaclena it would be as bad, of course, banished from her father's side, trapped on a foreign world by a quarrel that had little or nothing to do with her. Robert decided to let her have the last word. She had seen more of the universe than he anyway and had the advantage of coming from an older, higher-status clan. "Maybe you're right," he said. "Maybe you're right." Perhaps, though, he reminded himself as he helped her lift her backpack and then hoisted his own for the next stage of their trek, perhaps a young Tymbrimi can be just as ignorant and opinionated as any human youth, a little frightened and far away from home. 5 Fiben "TAASF scoutship Bonobo calling scoutship Proconsul. . . . Fiben, you're out of alignment again. Come on, old chim, try to straighten her out, will you?" Fiben wrestled with the controls of his ancient, alien-built spacecraft. Only the open mike kept him from expressing his frustration in rich profanity. Finally, in desperation, he kicked the makeshift control panel the technicians had installed back on Garth.

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