David at the Desk: Billy Shaddox's Transformation from "Working Class Hero" to Americana Artist

By: David Landry

Billy Shaddox has had quite the journey to get to where he is now, which is in Colorado making great Americana music.

The first time I heard Billy Shaddox was live at Birdhouse Concert Series, a once a month DIY concert series with local music, food, and beer. I’d been wandering around the event finding people to talk to, and after bumping into Billy, I learned he was one of the night’s performers. Billy’s songs were strong and short, leaving everyone in the audience wanting more. I was pumped to hear his new music, and he killed his performance. I was curious to learn more about this Colorado transplant by way of California, so we met up at Mountain Sun for a brew.

Ol' Billy Boy.

Ol' Billy Boy.

Shaddox has this attitude that makes you want to get to know him. And the more you talk to him, the more you realize he embodies a “working class hero”. Years before moving to Colorado, he was an everyday man, working as a civil engineer in San Diego to support his family. His job required moving around often, and spending time away from his wife and two kids. So one day, after discussing his fears about playing music for a living, his wife was actually the one to tell him to make the jump.  And so began Billy Shaddox’s musical career.

Billy Shaddox.

Billy Shaddox.

Shaddox recorded at Great North Sound Society in Maine with Sam Kassirer (Elephant Revival, Langhorne Slim, Josh Ritter). This is where Shaddox’s record, I Melt, I Howl was born, an Americana album filled with love and relief about life. The theme of change can be heard throughout the 11-song record. His songwriting has this timelessness to it that makes you remember past feelings and gets you excited for what's to come.  

There is also a visual element to Shaddox’s work. His songs remind me of being in the mountains and seeing every shade of green that exists. Billy’s music has this great country-Americana vibe to it that is perfect for a beautiful summer in Colorado. I can honestly say that I will be listening to it all summer, and hoping for more to come.

Though Billy has been touring for almost two years, he hasn’t played Colorado much. I get the sense that part of that is because that when he gets home from traveling, there’s probably an element of not wanting to do anything but be in the mountains with his family and write new songs. But, for the next few months, Shaddox has a number of shows around the state, including performances in Boulder, Longmont, Lyons. Make sure to catch one and check out Billy’s music.

Listen to I Melt, I Howl, and I have a feeling you’ll be happy Billy made the jump too:

-David at the desk

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited.