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Billy C. Wirtz

Prolonged a folk and blues festival favorite, Rev. Billy C. Wirtz wraps his funny stories and tracks into thoroughly orchestrated models that feature his stellar piano playing. His bundle can be hard for celebration organizers and membership owners to withstand. Wirtz was created in Aiken, S.C., the boy of a federal government employee dad and a sociologist and article writer mother. His family members relocated to Washington, D.C. when he was nine, that was a melting container of classic spirit, traditional R&B, and nation music. Wirtz paid attention to R&B radio displays and went to concerts by Wayne Dark brown and Aretha Franklin, understanding how to play acoustic guitar to face mask his awkward emotions in his teenage years, when he had been over six ft tall. Employed in an R&B record shop as a teenager, he broadened his understanding and like for blues and traditional spirit, and a revelatory instant arrived in 1970, when he went to a gospel display in Augusta, GA. He wept openly by the finish of the display, and it transformed his existence. Wirtz attended several schools before finally graduating in 1976 from Wayne Madison University having a level in unique education. He started operating at a camp for psychologically handicapped kids in Gore, VA, playing piano on weekends having a music group known as the Four Countrymen. In 1979, blues and barrelhouse piano participant Sunnyland Slim found his region; Wirtz launched himself and finished up traveling Slim around to his additional nearby displays. Wirtz quit his day time job and proceeded to go with Slim to Chicago, where he distributed the ageing bluesman’s walk-up house, meeting additional players and obtaining his blues education in the night clubs there. Wirtz credits his amount of time in Chicago with Slim as his actual blues education, so that as enough time he begun to develop his stage persona. (Slim passed on in 1995.) In 1982, Wirtz begun to pursue his very own career being a single artist. He attemptedto integrate what he noticed as the very best elements of Slender, Muddy Waters, rockabilly and early rock and roll & move legends like Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley into his live shows. He put into the mix the united states symbols like Merle Haggard and Crimson Sovine, and afterwards threw in a variety of Deep South evangelist types like Jimmy Swaggart and Ernest Ainsley. Basing himself in Virginia and NEW YORK, Wirtz created his work over a huge selection of shows and six years. Although he succumbed for some time to alcoholic beverages and drug complications, Wirtz got clean by 1988 and got his music profession off to an excellent start a season afterwards when he begun to record for Kingsnake Information, a label located in Sanford, Fla. In 1990, Hightone Information released Backslider’s Tractor Draw, which earned an prize for Comedy Record of the entire year with the Country wide Association of Individual Record Vendors (NAIRD). In 1991, Wirtz shifted to Nashville, and with this city’s focus on the business enterprise end of music, discovered easy fodder to get more tunes. He also fulfilled his wife there as well as the few later shifted to Florida, where he’s still structured. Although in no way a straight-ahead blues participant, a lot of his materials is situated in blues and traditional R&B, and his sharpened cultural commentaries, sprinkled with funny observations about politics and lifestyle in 20th-century America, make Wirtz perhaps one of the most sought-after performers in the celebration and membership circuit. He’s also a highlighted columnist for Musician mag. Wirtz’ discography shows that he’s a prolific songwriter, arranger and manufacturer. His albums consist of Songs of Beliefs and Irritation (1996), Pianist Envy (1994), A Switch For the Wirtz: Confessions of the Hillbilly Appreciate God (1992), Backsliders Tractor Draw (1990), and Deep Fried and Sanctified (1989), all on the Hightone Information label. Wirtz is constantly on the record and perform, issuiing Unchained Melodies in 1998.

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