Bill Hearne Trio

saturday, june 9

Bill Hearne calls it ‘The Road:’ that metaphorical ribbon of honky-tonks, roadhouses, empty whiskey glasses, prison cells and unrequited love lined with signposts and mile markers tattooed with names like Haggard, as in Merle, Williams, as in Hank, Owens, as in Buck and Lovett, as in Lyle. Being legally blind, Bill has never actually driven The Road himself, but he sings with such authority of the tales he’s heard while riding shotgun that you’d never know it.

Bill has a whole list of CDs available from the early releases with his wife, Bonnie such as “Most Requested: Best of Bill & Bonnie”, “Diamonds in the Rough”, & “Live at the La Fonda”. After Bonnie quit touring in 2003 due to health issues, Bill formed a trio & quartet and recorded “From Santa Fe to Las Cruces”, “A Good Ride”, “Bill Hearne Trio” & his most recent release, “All That’s Real”. Like the velveteen rabbit in the children’s story, the title “All That’s Real” describes Bill Hearne…he is “real” and he’s earned it from traveling many miles down the honky tonk road. He has a little less hair and his head is shinier these days just like the rabbit. “All That’s Real” is co-produced by Bill Hearne and Don Richmond, a master of many stringed instruments who owns Howling Dog Studios in Alamosa, CO, but has many musical ties with northern NM. Numerous area pickers and singers perform on the CD including Bill’s nephew, Michael Hearne, as well as some notable Texans, including piano man Earl Poole Ball (best known as Johnny Cash’s piano player, though he also played on the Byrds’ landmark country-rock album, Sweetheart of the Rodeo), and Jerry Jeff Walker, who sings his own “Dust on My Boots” with Hearne.

Bill doesn’t write his own songs. His greatness lies in his interpretive skills. His husky Texas baritone finds its way into a song’s interior with the mellowness of fine bourbon and the warmth of a Sunday picnic. And of course, there’s his pickin’, a style he calls ‘cross picking.’ He picked up the guitar when he was seven years old. “Since I didn’t have people to play with, I developed a style that incorporated a percussion rhythm while playing lead riffs. Basically, I tried to be a one man band,” he says. Like fellow cross-pickers Tony Rice and Doc Watson, Bill is improvisational. “I hardly ever play the same thing twice,” he says. Not only does he rarely play the same thing twice, he rarely plays the same song twice. His repertoire is as vast as Texas and New Mexico. Bill is the Real Deal, a genuine article in a country-music world that seems to have forsaken its roots.