In Ann Arbor, you can't get a much more family feel than at a Billy King show. Billy, son of Frog Holler organic farmers Ken and Cathy King, came to the local music community's attention almost twenty years ago as a child rockabilly sensation with his brother Kenny. The precocious King Brothers followed in their father's songwriting footsteps, learned to play instruments and sing, and rocked the house beyond what should be expected of preteens.
In the years since, Kenny has gone on to art school, and Billy has continued to play guitar, write songs, and work on the family farm. I've bought lettuce and tomato seedlings from the Kings at the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market for years. So I recognized Mom and Dad immediately at a recent Billy King show at Crazy Wisdom Tea Room, radiating pride for their finest produce - their grown son.
Now thirty, Billy has left rockabilly behind for warm, acoustic folk-rock originals. He has produced three solo CDs and performs regularly alone or with his band Billy King & the Idylls. His vocal delivery is simple and straightforward, floating comfortably at higher ranges, and he blends beautifully with Idylls vocalist Kristen Uthus, who sat in on the Crazy Wisdom gig.