Here we have it … some forgotten masterpieces revisited and some fresh new sounds. You can file these songs somewhere between The Triffids and The Go-Betweens. It’s music for the backbar where the heartbroken sit uneasily soaking up Billie’s words and nursing their own grief and melancholic moods. But Billie is the antidote for their distress, for with a few simple words he gives voice to unspoken dreams, he rejoices in the passion of surrender whilst drinking from the poisoned chalice of love. Amen!
So here are his words. Some songs have a fresh voice with Wayne and Lily giving their interpretations. It really doesn’t matter who is singing because the song is there to be sung and perhaps also to be listened to. These are wonderful alternative versions that are respectful yet perhaps take a few more steps up in production values, showing just how under rated a songwriter Billie is.
You can find all of Billie’s lyrics here in the site.
Ariel by Lily
“Sometimes I ask myself is it wrong to write a catchy tune? To write a song that just goes round and round your head the whole day! Cos that’s what ‘Ariel’ does. From nowhere you find yourself singing it and thinking… ‘where did I hear this?’ It’s catchy…catchy…catchy, but oh so classy. No messy diva moments, no melodramatic wannabe moments, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t got soul. This song has soul by the bucketload and I love the space. I just love the weighted dynamics and Lily’s voice. Not one weak word, not one wasted lyric and it’s super tight. Love it or loath it, just give it a listen and you’ll be hooked. Shades of Diana Ross mixed with Shania Twain and the production is understated yet so sympathetic to the song. It’s a classy timeless song. Just get it for the bass line (Roy Martinez) and listen to a great musician on top of his game and if world class pedal steel guitar is your cup of tea check out Lucky Oceans and his sensitive reading of the song. But for me it’s got to be the extended version of ‘Ariel’ that sounds so perfect, with it’s darker mix and moody introspective ending … no happy endings here … no fairytale chick flick sellout. It’s honest and soulful and worth the price of admission in itself”
John Young [Contemporary Musicologist]
Midnight Alibis by Billie Reid
“Billie Reid is a musician who stands proud as a purveyor of righteousness in current times. Based and working out of Fremantle, Australia, the singer songwriter’s artillery is a huge catalogue of music and a will to perform. His deeply poetic lyrics stand at the fore of his arson, brandishing words like a sword and hitting injustice square in the jaw. It’s no surprise he’s influenced by famous literary rebels like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. This is the wordy goodness of the beat movement put to music. Unsurprisingly, Reid also draws influence from genres that are notorious for encapsulating a square determination to rebel against social norms. Punk, alt-rock and Americana all come crashing down from his pedestal in a fuss of anger, girth, and the occasional nod to the fairer sex. Joining him on his stand is his trusty acoustic guitar. It works in collaboration with his trademark vocal – a furious, grizzled spit that emulates the late, great Joe Strummer from The Clash”
Ticket Out Of Dizneyland by Billie Reid
“From Fremantle, Australia, singer-songwriter and poet Billie Reid offers independent music fans his own unique lyrical and musical vision. Reid breaks out of the blocks with the violence of rap, delivering a stream of barbed couplets and kickass lyrical imagery, delivered through the musical force of punk. Reid’s lyrics traverse a range of different topics, both personable and political, which are always delivered through his cocksure lyrical stylings and artistic idiosyncrasies. Put more simply, Reid is a poet and he motherfucking knows it. Reid’s uncompromising spirit shines through the course of these 14 tracks. This is a man with ambition; a man whose footsteps aim to re-find the path set down by the luminaries of the independent music scene. While the machine-gun delivery of his words recalls the lyrical fire and brimstone of Bob Dylan, as well as the acerbic energy of Johnny Cash. Resultantly, Billie Reid’s music is a volatile hybrid, combining the purebred folk compulsions of bluegrass and rockabilly, infused with Reid’s own punk-influenced approach to songwriting. This street walkin’ cheetah with a heart full of napalm has a lot to say about love, loss, and the state of the world at large”
Ode To The Dudes by Billie Reid
“Billie Reid is one intriguing cat. I’m hearing a rich hybrid telling me that he’s been absorbing and assimilating for a long time; that he understands the power of words, of poetry even. He’s plainly a rocker at heart but just as plainly there’s a lot going on in his heart and head – from skittering banjo to grinding blues to playful pop. There could even be some whirlygig jugband going on and, dare I say it, a nod or two to His Bobness (both Zimmerman and the acerbic Irish Knight – Geldof). One gets the feeling that Billie’s not overly concerned with expectations or categories, that he’s having a whale of a time and if you want to come along for the ride that’s fine by him. How did The Hombres put it all those years ago? “Nobody knows what it’s all about. It’s too much man, let it all hang out.” ….”
Glenn A. Baker (Australian Rock Historian)
Tony Hartney: “…. “Ode To The Dudes” runs one minute twenty six seconds. It sounds like to me that it should be an eight minute opus but it’s not”….
John Young: “I felt he just got into the first verse then he stops. It has this fantastic Ry Cooder landscape guitar evolving right at the beginning. You think this is nice, where’s this going then suddenly it’s over …… yeah, one of the best!”
Demon Street by Billie Reid
“Here is an alternative version with sneering ‘Clash’ inspired chords and snarling lyrics that bite. Tombstones and a cheating heart …. ‘I ain’t got no time for lies’ …. this isn’t trendy wank art but a dark reading on a timeless theme. There is darkness and a sense of desperation that pulls you in. ‘Demon Street’ don’t go there … but if you do … I wish you luck cause this song has no room for sensitive types, it’s a bitter tirade lamenting loss, yet there’s no sense of introspection or poignant reflection from the safety of distance. Self pity isn’t in Billie’s emotional vocabulary. ‘Demon Street’ is hard edged and short, it’s sharp and word perfect. Perhaps only those who have been hurt will connect”
“I’ve always found Billie’s lyrical style and melodies to have a ‘classic’ appeal. Lyrically, he proves to be very versatile and what seems to be his golden ticket, is the innate ability to speak his mind and knowing how to tell a story to keep the listener intrigued. As a vocalist, his impassioned voice is full, dynamic and has an energy that helps celebrate his passionate opinions on love and the World around him”
Dreamer by Lily
“Love, regret, sadness. When the chips are down and it hurts we find solace in art and sometimes bad things. Perhaps it’s the measured hurt that Lily shares and her voice – so honest and naked – lifts us and reminds us of the duality of love. Love and pain, two sides to the coin, both faces but so true to the human condition … ‘A chill has fallen on my heart’. ‘Love Song 612’ is a masterpiece. One day this song will be recognized for it’s magic. Her honest understated vocal blends with the music so well. It’s a great reading of the song …. her hurt is there for us to share”
“What a fantastic voice. Measured but never safe … there’s a twist in her delivery that lifts with these songs ‘Love Song 612’ and ‘In Dreams With You’. Don’t underestimate the melody … once it’s in your head, that’s where it’s going to stay. She’s going to be special. Lily is a classy singer. No histrionics, no crass emotions … her reading of both these songs belies a musical intelligence beyond her youth. She’s a great singer and she’s only going to get better”
My Love by Wayne Halifax
“Where did the sadness come from? It’s a moody moody collection of tunes, kind of introspective, a little sad, it’s a private tale of redemption, here are contemporary adult songs baring the soul. They are more than just the sum of their parts. ‘My Love’ sets the tone. It’s a little dark … it’s an unfolding melodrama. The land is in ruins, but it’s inconsequential. The passage of time passes, inescapably & the runes are cast. The sexual frisson is palpable. It’s a song from a long time ago. It’s a timeless theme. Wayne’s voice is never cloying or twee & he delivers a strong vocal on ‘In Dreams With You’. Cooler than a Coolgardie safe. Unpretentious & honest. Shards of country fused with plaintive mandolin. A timeless melody pulls you in. Then ‘Love Song 612’ takes this journey somewhere else. & so the dance of love begins. Distance brings a clarity. There’s an elegance that steers clear of saccharine clichés, it’s another great song. Someone’s got to pick this one up. It’s a master-class in songwriting. It’s all in a league of it’s own. Just the songs title is intriguing! Is the 612 a catalogue number? Or a hotel room number? Wayne’s vocal, neither cynical nor sad, explores the poignancy & hurt of love. We may not fully connect but we can feel some of the bittersweet hurt”