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Billy O'Rourke

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Lyrics that mean something, melodies that are actually melodic – music that possesses those traits always finds a loyal audience sooner or later. For Texas singer/songwriter Billy O’Rourke, that audience is made up of the music lovers who drop into the Cowboy Bar in Helotes, Texas, on Tuesday night, to hear what’s on his mind. So as a tribute to them, and as a way for others to hear what’s been going on in Helotes nearly every week for over 6 years, Billy’s released his second CD, titled "Tuesday." There at the Cowboy Bar, it’s just Billy and his guitar up on the stage. He’s wearing jeans and a T-shirt, singing in an engaging, easygoing baritone that recalls his West Texas roots. And the mostly acoustic Tuesday is a lot like those performances,which Billy’s been doing nearly every week for 6 years.

Actually, the term “just Billy and his guitar” may be an understatement. His perceptive, witty lyrics and hummable melodies manage to envelop listeners without relying on an elaborate musical accompaniment. You can do that when you have a strong batch of songs, many of which Billy co-wrote with Mitch Stephens.

Singing about American life, Billy describes the passage from adolescence to responsible adulthood with affection and understanding on “Been-There Done-That Years.” “Sweet iced tea is more my style,” he sings, happy to have traded la vida loca for something more real and permanent.

Another favorite is “She Just Wants to Dance,” which was recently featured on The Other Side, a weekly program on the top San Antonio country station KJ-97.A vivid story, it’s about a beautiful young woman who’s a great dance partner but thinks twice before getting involved with any of the Romeos who approach her.

Billy and Mitch wrote the album’s 14 songs over the last two years.

In 1991, Billy graduated from Angelo State Univ. in San Angelo with a degree in drama and speech: “I thought about going to California and trying to make it as an actor.” But during college, he joined a band that played everything from R&B to rock and country. Growing up, he’d loved the music of George Strait, Vern Gosdin, Bruce Hornsby and Jackson Browne.

So after he graduated, he decided to stay in music, joining the award-winning Poteet-based Tejano band David Lee Garza & Los Musicales on guitar, later moving to bajo sexto. Ten albums later, he’s still with them – the raucous Tuesday track “Who’s That Gringo?” describes his experiences with the band. “Once I got in with David (Lee Garza) I thought, ‘I know what I’m supposed to be doing.’” Billy recalls.

Billy signed a publishing deal with producer Bill Green in 1997 and prior to Tuesday released his debut album Honky Tonk Ballet, where he’s backed by a full band.

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