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Further On: The Songs of Billy Conway, Recorded By Close Friends And Collaborators, Out Today

Billy Conway_by Alex McCollough.jpg
Alex McCollough
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Billy Conway

Billy Conway was a drummer, a friend and bandmate to many, having played with Jeffrey Foucault, Chris Smither, Morphine, Treat Her Right, Kelly Joe Phelps and many others. A lesser-known fact is that Billy Conway was a songwriter. He released an album of his songs, (Outside Inside) in 2020, but most of what he wrote existed only on four-track cassette demos, beer-party field recordings, and the latest, voice memos as he was facing a terminal cancer diagnosis. Conway’s wife and musical partner, Laurie Sargent gathered some of their close friends and collaborators a few months after he passed in December of 2021 for a sort of “working wake”. The group of friends poured their love and grief into recording a collection of some of the songs he left behind, in a makeshift studio they threw together in an old New Hampshire farmhouse where he’d spent his last few years. The result is Further On: The Songs of Billy Conway and it is out today. All proceeds will go to the Billy Conway Artist Fund.

The album features contributions from Jeffrey Foucault, Chris Smither, Kris Delmhorst, Caitlin Canty and others including Nashville guitarist and songwriter Jabe Beyer who had this to say about the project and about Billy: “One year ago, we lost one of the most profound, gracious humans I've ever been lucky enough to have come into my orbit. Billy Conway. For the two decades I knew him, Billy was a stalwart pillar of support, community, and brotherhood. A sincere source of inspiration in my kicking-and-screaming journey through time. He was a dear, caring friend. A mentor, with a boundless mind. Charmed and astute, calm and composed among all company. Someone possessing the precise ingredients of intellect, experience, perspective, and humor, able to cut anything down to the plain truth in one flat second, straight-away comprehend its nuances from all sides, and try with all his might never to fall victim to the lazy, pedestrian behavior of rendering judgment. I can’t recall a single occasion of coming away from a conversation with Billy, feeling anything but more enlightened than when it began. Even if all we talked about was the weather.”

On the making of the album, Jabe added, “Further On: The Songs of Billy Conway, was our way of pouring our collective love and grief into something tangible. It was the one thing we knew how to do: to honor our beloved friend in a way that would have made him smile ear to ear. A bunch of life-long friends and loved ones, in a room, making music together. And the music we were making was his. The songs are incredible, as was Billy Conway, and we thought people should hear them.”

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Further On: The Songs of Billy Conway album cover

Listen this Sunday at 8am or Monday at 7pm for one of Jabe’s contributions and a song from Caitlin Canty on WMOT’s The Local Brew Hour.

"Love Ain’t Around" from the album Further On: The Songs of Billy Conway. Written by Billy Conway, performed by Jeffrey Foucault, with Jeff Berlin (drums), Dana Colley (baritone saxophone), Jeremy Moses Curtis (bass), Kris Delmhorst (backing vocal), Russ Gershon (alto saxophone), Tom Halter (trumpet), Eric Heywood (pedal steel), Alex McCollough (electric guitar), Laurie Sargent (backing vocal).

"Love Ain’t Around"

About the album:

Ana Lee is the host and producer of "The Local Brew," a weekly radio show plus a live showcase for Nashville based artists. She hosts mid-days on 89.5 WMOT Roots Radio, Nashville, is a voice over artist and curator of musical experiences for events.
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