Billylee Janey has been compared to such greats as Clapton, Beck, and Hendrix. Even though these guitar heroes have been an inspiration to him, Billylee’s own soulful and passionate love for music clearly and creatively sets him apart, giving him his own unique style and personality. Billylee picked up his first guitar, a German Framus, at an early age. it was during the “British Invasion” that he was taking his first steps in another direction; a direction that would lead him down paths into the music that would shape his future – the blues, jazz and rock. Billylee recorded his first record in 1972 and another in 1973 which included “Pontiac Blues” by Sonny Boy Williamson. In 1975 he recorded a full scale album titled “No Rest for the Wicked” with his bluesy hard rock trio, TRUTH AND JANEY. “No Rest for the Wicked” has achieved near cult status internationally, and has been recognized in the book by Martin Popoff “The Collector’s Guide to Heavy Metal Volume I: The Seventies” and the Acid Archives Book among others.
Recently, Janey received nominations by the Iowa Rock and Roll, and Blue’s Halls of Fame. Also, in 2000, Billylee received a Grammy entry mention. Billylee Janey as played B B KINGS IN MEMPHIS, BUDDY GUYS’ LEGENDS DURING THE CHICAGO BLUES FEST and the MISS. VALLY BLUES FEST. He has worked over 600 major shows in the USA and Canada. Other accomplishments; Head Flyman for David Copperfield, where Janey incorporated guitar stunts and tricks in his live show. Janey worked in theaters for 15 years working on productions such as Chorus Line and 42nd St. he also worked the ABC Network’s farm crisis with the Donahue Show and over 600 arena shows for jazz, blues and pop rock including Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn and George Thorogood. Janey was a part of production on the feature film “Miles From Home” starring Richard Gere. Janey played on stage with Buddy Guy, Little Ed and was the backing band for Bo Diddley shows in 2000.
In 2001, there was a wonderful Truth and Janey reunion with the classic line-up that produced a couple of great live shows. A year or two later they played again as there were inducted into the Iowa Rock Hall of Fame.
Today, Billylee continues to test the waters with his solo career and his 14th and latest release “Gimme Some Lightnin’” – on the Texas-based Rockadrome label. While he is staying busy these days with performances, recordings and many a late night writing and composing, Billylee hasn’t forgotten what this is all about for him. “I want to share with people what I feel in my heart, continue to give something new to the people who support live music and challenge myself.”
Billylee Janey and his band are ready to hit the road and eagerly welcome festival gigs and other touring opportunities from around the world.
Audio Samples (60 sec clips):
Billylee Janey – 20 Miles of Bad Road (from the Soul Driver CD)
Billylee Janey – Blues My Soul (from the Gimme Some Lightnin’ CD)
Billylee Janey – What’s Your Trick (from the What’s Your Trick CD)
Billylee Janey – I Can Tell (from the Soul Driver CD)
Billylee Janey – Burnin You Outta My Soul (from the Soul Driver CD)
Billylee Janey – Someday Soon (from the What’s Your Trick CD)
Billylee Janey – Smoke and Mirrors (from the Gimme Some Lightnin’ CD)
Billylee Janey – Blue Haze (from the Gimme Some Lightnin’ CD)
Billylee Janey – Highway Rider (from the Gimme Some Lightnin’ CD)
Billylee Janey – Eagle Fly (from the forthcoming No Saints Ringin’ the Bells CD)
Billylee Janey – Killin the Blues (from the forthcoming No Saints Ringin’ the Bells CD)
Billylee Janey – Sweet Seventeen (from the forthcoming No Saints Ringin’ the Bells CD)
BILLYLEE JANEY – Guitarist, Songwriter, Performer.
Billylee Janey was a member of the following groups:
1968 – 1969 Driving Wheel Blues Band (Chicago, Texas and Delta blues)
1969 – 1977 Truth In Janey – Psychedelic Blues rock
1978 – 1979 Enoch Smokey – Blues rock
1980 – 1984 BillyLee Janey Group – Blues
1984 – 1985 Dennis McMurrin Demolition Band – Blues / Rock / R & B
1985 – 1994, 2002, 2009 The Janeys (Ma/Pa/Son trio fashioned after Hound Dog Taylor and the House Rockers from Chicago) – Raw, Chicago blues – Still play as The Janeys Father/Son band. 1995 – present BillyLee Janey Band – Blues / rock.
1995 – 2005 Featured special guest of The Blue Band – Blues / R&B
1997 – 1998 Blue Janey (Molly Nova, Bob Dorr, Jerri Janey and BillyLee Janey)
2002 Molly Nova and the Hawk – Blues / rock.
2003 – 2004 Ernie Penniston Band – Blues / R&B
2003 – 2005 Compact 3 – Blues / Rock / Jazz 8. , The Blue Band – special guest.
also as performing member with Buddy Guy – performed with Little Ed and the Blues Imperials – performed with Bo Diddley – performed with Kenny Neal – performed with Kinsley Report
Some noted live performances with Billylee Janey:
1973 Mississippi Blues / Rock Festival, Truth and Janey with Seagull Schwall Blues Band
1974 Turner Hall in Quincy, IL with Savoy Brown Band
1974 – 1975 Toured with Leslie West 1983 Hall of Science in New York City,
1984 Bellevue Blues Fest, Billylee Janey group & Demolition Band
1985 – 1995 significant amount of blues shows as The Janey’s
1988 Spotlights in Cedar Rapids with Johnny Winter
1990 Chicago Blues Fest with Johnny Copeland at Buddy Guy’s Legends
1990 – 1993 Liars Theater, The Janey’s
1991 Palace Theater in Des Moines with Koko Taylor
1992 Living History Farm Fest with Junior Wells, Lonnie Brooks and Eddie Clearwater
1993 Keokuk Blues Fest with Tinsy Ellis and Joanna Conner
1997 Big Dog’s in Cedar Rapids with John Mayall
1997 Mississippi Valley Blues Fest with The Blue Band
2000 3rd Street Live with Bo Didley
2001 3rd Street Live with Steven Miller
2005 Iowa City Jazz Fest, BillyLee Janey’s Compact 3
2005 Sturgess Falls Festival, BillyLee Janey’s Compact 3
2005 Jazz Under the Stars, BillyLee Janey’s Compact 3
2005 Bluesmore, BillyLee Janey’s Compact 3
2005 with Ray Blue (from New York) at Liars Theater for KCRG TV9
2005 – Inducted into Iowa Rock n Roll Hall of Fame for work with Truth in Janey. Numerous reviews in Living Blues, Blues Revue, Blues Access. Received 5 Grammy entry mentions.
2005 – Iowa Public Television, BillyLee Janey’s Compact 3 blues/rock/jazz.
Billylee Janey has appeared on the following recordings:
w/ Truth and Janey
1973 Pontiac Blues by Sonny Boy Williamson
1975 No Rest for the Wicked (2006 reissued by the Rockadrome label)
1977 Just a Little bit of Magic
2007 Erupts! (a 1976 concert recording on the Rockadrome label)
w/ The Janeys
1980 Iowa First Flight Album The Janeys
1988 The Janeys Ma/Pa/Son Trio on Forte Records (Des Moines)
2002 The Janeys w/Byrce Janey
as Billylee Janey
2002 self-titled various songs on all Iowa Blues compilations on Hot Fudge Records
w/ Billylee Janey Band
1982 Billylee Janey’s Superjam
1995 Just Got Lucky, Hot Fudge Records
1997 Everyone has the blues with Sam SalmoneBillylee Janey Crazy 8 CD
1997 First Time Out with Carol Thomas
1999 Mankiller with Sam Salmone
2005 Crazy 8
2007 Soul Driver (on the Rockadrome label)
2009 What’s your Trick (on the Rockadrome label)
2010 Gimme some Lightnin’ (on the Rockadrome label)
w/ The Janeys with Patrick Hazell / Bob Dorr / Molly Nova
2001 Two Trios
w/ Compact 3
BLJ has been teaching Blues guitar at West Music for last 10 years and will continue in the future. He continues to play, teach, record, promote and support Blues music in Iowa. He was also a promoter for 5 years (1990-1995) and promoted Blues shows – Buddy Guy , Johnny Winter, The Paladines, Koko Taylor, Sugar Blue, Little Ed, Charlie and the Nightcaps. I was also a journeyman stagehand from 1981-1995 and worked such shows as Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, George Thorogood.