Is the next big thing too trite? There is no other way to describe Billy Raffoul, who I had the privilege of catching on a cold summer night in Philly. When listening to Billy, you can’t help but try to immediately compare him to other artists. Billy’s voice has a gravelly/raspiness mix of Tom Waits/Joe Cocker with Springsteen-ish lyrics, this guy has a bright future. Opening NEEDTOBREATHE’s “Forever On Your Side” tour which includes Johnnyswim, Billy is getting the exposure he deserves.
Billy was exposed to the music biz at an early age, as he tagged along with his father Jody Raffoul, an accomplished musician himself, playing local gigs. Billy seriously started his pursuit a few years back playing the local bar scene, and eventually signed to Interscope and is now touring the US and Canada.
Billy is starting to get an extensive catalog, currently working between Los Angeles and Nashville on a full length release, he currently has a six-song EP titled “1975” available which include “Acoustic,” “I’m Not A Saint,” “Could You Be Mine,” as well as singles “You Be Love,” “Difficult,” “Dark Four Door,” and “Driver.”
Billy stuck with the red Fender Telecaster, while Justin Zuccato on drums/backing vocals and Nina Sørensen on bass/backing vocals provided a much larger sound on stage. Billy is most expressive when playing acoustic but opted not to use it (leaving it for Justin to play). Billy did close the set with a crushing cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” which allowed each band member to have some fun a jam away. Billy Raffoul will be on this tour through August before landing at the Ohana Festival in Dana Point, California on Sept 29th.
photos and review by Bob Linneman