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Billy F Gibbons

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Vagabond Man Billy F Gibbons 03:59
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Nestled beneath a pair of black shades and long beard, ZZ Top front man Billy Gibbons has been chugging out blues-rock boogies since the early 1970s, but made a surprise change of direction into the world of afro-Cuban jazz when he turned solo in 2015. He was born December 16, 1949 in Houston, Texas to a father who was a concert pianist and conductor for MGM film studios. Gibbons started out playing drums before getting his defining musical education when his housekeeper began taking him to R&B clubs to see the likes of T-Bone Walker, Ray Charles, and Albert Collins. Like many of his generation he also drew inspiration from Elvis Presley's legendary appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and, while at art school in Hollywood, he started playing with local bands before returning home to form the psychedelic garage rock outfit Moving Sidewalks, who released their first album 'Flash' in 1969. With drummer Frank Beard and bassist Dusty Hill, Gibbons then set about crafting ragged, good-time blues jams and infectious rock grooves as ZZ Top rose from dingy Texas bars to international stardom and a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Their breakthrough third album 'Tres Hombres' took the band into the US top ten for the first time in 1978 and they became best known for their hit single 'Legs' and massive platinum-selling records 'Eliminator', 'Afterburner' and 'Recycler' in the 1980s. They continued cranking out the riffs for decades and the symmetrical image of Gibbons and Hill in all their glory became instantly recognizable the world over, but the front man also found time to play on records by Hank Williams III, Kid Rock, Queens of the Stone Age, Jeff Beck and DJ David Guetta and played a recurring role in the Fox TV drama series Bones. A surprise invitation to perform at the Havana Jazz Festival later led to Gibbons exploring the relationship between the blues and Afro-Cuban jazz, and he began experimenting with jams that were influenced by cha cha, mamba and timbales drums. The project took off when Gibbons and his newly-formed backing band The BFGs released their debut album Perfectamundo in 2015 featuring a mix of Latin rhythms with wailing guitar licks with DJ synths and beats. After completing the project with an acclaimed performance in Havana, he returned to his roots on his second solo album, 2018’s The Big Bad Blues, taking on classics including “Rollin and Tumblin'” and “Standing Around Crying” alongside original tracks filled with vintage Chicago blues grunt and howling rock anthems. For 2021’s Hardware, he composed 11 new songs along with his producers, Mike Fiorentino and Matt Sorum, that on the whole owed more to rock than blues.