Bill Lyerly - Detailed Bio

Bill Lyerly is a well-known American roots rock artist from the US East Coast. His music is aired on AM, FM, satellite and internet radio stations all over the world. Lyerly’s most recent work, Too Hurt To Cry, was mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London, the most famous recording facility in the world.

Lyerly formed his first band when he was 11 years old, and in high school he skipped class to rehearse. He performed with such greats as the Shirelles and Steppenwolf, who encouraged him to take his music seriously.

After college Lyerly co-founded Super Grit Cowboy Band, one of the first alternative country bands, which reviewers, including The Village Voice, called the “South’s hottest honky tonkers”. After writing and singing lead on most of the material on Super Grit’s self-titled first album, Lyerly decided to leave and form his own outlaw country band.

A producer at RCA Records had heard an “album” Bill had recorded at a small North Carolina studio. Finally the president of RCA was able to get Bill on the phone. A year later Lyerly signed with RCA and joined Waylon Jennings as the only artist permitted to use his road band on his recordings. Two years later, after Bill’s song “My Baby´s Coming Home” and his cover of “Mystery Train” had won him recognition and radio play around the world, the Lyerly-RCA relationship had become beyond counseling. Lyerly had become fed up with RCA’s ultimatums to go to Nashville and record slick records. That meant “selling out” to Lyerly.

When Roy Dea, one of Nashville´s last great old-school producers, decided to form his own label, LSI, Lyerly went with him. Steve Earle, a young and promising Texas singer-songwriter was also signed by LSI who released his first record “Pink and Black”. Steve and Bill quickly became friends. Lyerly’s follow up album to Prodigal Son, Higher Ground, had a progressive rock and roll and blues approach that had not been heard in Nashville before.

By the end of the 80s, Lyerly’s music had evolved into a new sound, fusing Chicago Blues (Muddy Waters), Texas Blues (Freddie King) and British blues rock (early Eric Clapton). It was served up dense, dirty and scorching hot and Lyerly referred to it as “napalm blues.” His album, "From the Old School", released on Broadcast Records in 1990, paid homage to the late ‘60s and early ‘70s British blues rock. Lyerly didn’t care that his American audience on the East Coast still grooved on traditional blues. The guitar tones on "Old School" were overdriven into heavy distortion with the power of rock and roll, making this work anything but old and taking fans back to the classroom.

In 1998 Railroad Station Blues (Riviere International Records) was released in the US and Europe, receiving instant, rave reviews in Living Blues and Blues Revue. In 1999 Cobalt Blues was released. This amazingly poetic and haunting line-up of songs was nominated for a total of five CAMMY Awards with Lyerly taking home Best New Artist in 2000. Lyerly’s song writing genius comes forward in songs such as “Dark Glasses”, where he reflects on the final days preceding his mother’s death from cancer. Motel Room Blues (Ripete Blues) was released in late 2000. La Hora del Blues, the top Blues radio program in Spain, was one of many to describe these CDs as “must hear” music. In 2001 Requiem Mess (Broadcast Records), Lyerly’s first new country album since Prodigal Son in 1982, was released. It was also the first collaboration between Lyerly and Clyde Mattocks since Super Grit Cowboy Band’s debut album. Blue Suede News called it, “one of the year’s very best.” In 2007 Broadcast issued The Twang Years, selected country recordings by Bill Lyerly from 1977-1983. Everything was digitally re-mastered plus it included some previously unreleased songs and 45 tracks.

The list of major artists Lyerly has performed with includes many R&R and Country Music Hall of Famers and multiple Grammy winners including: John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, Gregg Allman, Leon Russell, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, REM, Bill Monroe, Steve Earle, Emmy Lou Harris, John Mayall, Levon Helm, Rick Nelson and many more.


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Last updated on July 13, 2013