Tickets are now available to see Billy Bob Thornton & The Boxmasters at The Garage!
Fronted by drummer/vocalist W.R. Thornton — better-known as actor/director Billy Bob Thornton, the Academy Award-winning star of Sling Blade — and featuring guitarist/bassist J.D. Andrew, the Boxmasters specialize in spinning the sounds of the 1960s into the post-modern world. In the words of their 2009 album, the Boxmasters play “Modbilly” — a fusion of the swinging sounds of the British Invasion and the hillbilly bop emanating out of both Nashville and Bakersfield. The band’s country-rock fusion was showcased on their eponymous debut, the first of many double-disc sets the group released over the years. This indicates how the Boxmasters were especially prolific in the studio, releasing concept albums, Christmas records, and double albums like clockwork, keeping that steady pace all the way to 2022’s Help…I’m Alive.
The origins of the Boxmasters lay in Beautiful Door, a solo album Billy Bob Thornton made in 2007. J.D. Andrew worked as an engineer on its recording and he struck up a friendship with Thornton that spilled into a collaboration. Andrew brought in Michael Wayne Butler to flesh out a session and the trio decided they sounded like a band, so they formed the Boxmasters.
The group debuted by playing a few gigs in Southern California and in Tecate, Mexico. Landing a deal with Vanguard Records, the group released their double-album debut The Boxmasters early in 2008, supporting the record with an augmented version of the band featuring keyboardist Teddy Andreadis, mandolinist/guitarist Brad Davis, and drummer Mike Bruce. By the end of the year, they also issued the seasonal album Christmas Cheer. Modbilly, a double-album featuring a disc of originals and a disc of covers, followed in April 2009.
After this quick, productive beginning, Thornton put the Boxmasters on hiatus so he could film Jayne Mansfield’s Car, the first feature he directed since 2000’s All the Pretty Horses. After the movie’s 2012 release, Thornton took a couple of years off before reviving the Boxmasters with the 2015 double-album Somehwere Down the Road, which was released on 101 Ranch Records. That year, the group also issued the self-released Providence, which was available only on the band’s website.
From this point forward, the Boxmasters continued to record at a quick clip. In 2016, they released the double-album Boys and Girls…And the World and Tea Surfing, both on NDR Records. That label also issued In Stereo! in 2018. The Boxmasters moved to KeenTone Records for 2019’s Geoff Emerick-produced Speck, with Light Rays appearing the next year. Christmas in California arrived in 2021. By the time the group released Help…I’m Alive in 2022, Thornton and Andrew were the only surviving original Boxmasters, although Andreadis was still part of the lineup, alongside drummer Eric Rhoades, bassist Dave Fowler and guitarist Kirk McKim.
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