Waikato Times October '08: Billy Squire and The Rye
Not to be confused with legendary American heavy rock singer-guitarist Billy Squier (best known for his song The Stroke), this Billy Squire delivers an enjoyable assortment of country-blues and Americana on his debut album Truth and Treason with his band The Rye. Dave Hartley on bass, Earl Robertson (City Newton Bombers) on drums, Timothy William on keyboards and multi-instrumentalist Dave Kahn (Flammable Tramp).
Squire reveals a rich chemistry of sound. As a blues-slide delivery opens Nobody, Squire's charming acoustic touch and gentle vocal hits the spot, and with fiddle and additional vocals by Reb Fountain, it makes for a strong start.
Followed by the sparkling dobro on Somehow and the more electric rock-flavoured Cecelia, it isn't long before the generosity of musical spirit combines in the most effective tones.
Certainly Squire's songwriting talents, structure and arrangement provide the tunes with memorable qualities and deliveries.This is evident on the reflective St Kevin's Arcade with Fountain's vocals adding spice, and on Chelsea Dreams where with a solo performance, Squire proves what a confident singer-songwriter he is. From the rock of Into It, to the lyrical flow and rhythm of Ambivalence, Billy Squire and The Rye come up trumps and further, any muso who cites Jefferson Airplane's off-shoot blues band Hot Tuna as an influence is definitely all right by me.
New Zealand Musician Magazine Oct/Nov 2008:
This is a confident, polished and well-written album which spans solo singer-songwriter finger picking (Chelsea Dreams), country- tinged rock (Into It) and jazzy blues (Blueland). If the wistfulness of the first two tracks isn't your bag, stay with it, because the attitude ramps up from tracks three onwards. Squire's guitar playing is accomplished throughout, exemplified in the section where he trades licks with the piano and fiddle on Cecelia, which reminds me of the outro of Richard & Linda Thompson's When I get to the border.
Chicken Picken does exactly what it says on the tin - pure twangy fun! Saint Kevin's Arcade shows off more great guitar licks and a tasteful effected vocal line in the chorus. The last track My Own Roadie shows off Billy's laconic side, with a tale that any musician can relate to. The company Squire keeps speaks to the quality of the musicianship. Among those appearing on the album are Reb Fountain, and ubiquitous keys man Dom Blaazer. Catch Squire and his band on tour this October.
Billy Squire and the Rye Sat 25th Oct. - Oamaru.
I'd heard Billy's c.d. and was impressed by his flavour of country music to give it a name. What I wasn't prepared for was a tight, four piece band of superb musicians who gave us an entertaining evening full of energy and some great original music.
I heard the remark that Billy was, "a bit of a rooster strutting his stuff." He has the right and I believe payed his dues. A down to earth kind of guy whose love of playing shuffled on around to the Criterion until 3.am for an accoustic jam of guitars, harp and piano.
Billy returns to the club in late March 2009 and if you missed him this time put that date in your calendar.