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Billy & Lynn at the Appalachian Ale House

Appalachian Ale House, 205 E. Main Street, Pickens, SC 29671

Nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains downtown Pickens SC, Appalachian Ale House provides a unique beverage experience. This speakeasy style pubs offers a mercantile store, craft beverage bar and craft kitchen. (and live music!)

Get the new album, "Comin' Home" !

Get the new album, "Comin' Home" ! Available at CDBaby, ITunes, our audio page, or stream it at Apple Music and Spotify!

Playing With The House's Money 

As the Carolina Panthers went into their January 10th playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, coach Ron Rivera said that his team was "playing with house money". Lifting a phrase from the gambling world, he meant that his team had defied the odds just to be in the playoffs; in a sense they had no stake in the game, and therefore they had nothing to lose.

This can be an incredibly liberating feeling.

Sadly, the Panthers didn't win, but I've been turning that phrase around in my mind ever since. Intellectually I've always known that I came into this world with nothing, and I will certainly take nothing when I go. But it seems as if I've lived my life in a way that would suggest I believe otherwise. I've played the game with the goal of protecting the little pile of chips that I believed was "mine", as if I brought them to the table. As a fifty year old man, it's finally sinking in that God owns ALL the chips and any idea that they belong to me is, well, just foolish. I'm finally realizing that I'm playing with the house's money.

This can be an incredibly liberating feeling.

If I lose money because I am naive and give to a cause or person that really doesn't deserve it, well, those chips aren't mine anyway.

If my reputation takes a hit because I reach for a dream and fail, well, those chips aren't mine anyway.

If I make myself emotionally vulnerable because I tell the people that matter to me that I love them, well, those chips aren't mine anyway.

You get the idea.

I hope to make 2015 my most exciting year ever. I'm going to play a little crazy at the table. I'm going to bet often, big, perhaps a little foolishly sometimes. But after all, what do I really have to lose?

I'm playing with the house's money.







I still remember a nightmare that I had as a young boy. In my dream, I was in the woods behind my childhood home, and a monster was chasing me. Terrified, I ran home and burst through the door of my house. To my horror, it was empty. No mom or dad, no brother, no furniture, nothing. As an eerie wind blew threw the open windows, I realized that my home had become just an empty, vacant building. I ran next door to where my grandparents lived, and found the same thing. I was utterly and completely alone. And the monster was still coming...


In 2010 my mom passed away after a long illness. Less than a year later, as it seemed life was getting back to normal, my dad was stricken with a rapidly spreading cancer, and he died in 2011. Stunned and ill prepared for this reality, my brother and I began the long, slow process of disposing of our parents' property and preparing our childhood home for sale.


One day I was working at the house, and as the wind blew through open windows across an empty floor, it hit me. This was the moment from my dream! The house was empty. Parents, gone. Grandparents, gone. At the tender young age of 50, I realized that I was an orphan. And I felt utterly and completely...alone.


Except.. I'm not alone. In the years since my nightmare, God has brought so many people into my life. My wife; my sons; my daughters-in-law; my grandchildren; I have relatives, friends, coworkers, band mates.. and the list goes on and on. Most of these people existed only in God's imagination when I had my nightmare, but I believe even then He was already planning on how He would weave us into each others' lives. And while I still mourn those I have lost; sometimes with an ache so deep it is physical; I am thankful for all of those people who have moved into that void and enriched my life.


I'm writing this on Thanksgiving morning. My amazing wife Lynn is busy preparing the Thanksgiving meal, and intoxicating smells are already filling the house. In a couple of hours our tiny house will be overflowing with family and friends and we'll celebrate. Our modern day lives are much easier than those of the Pilgrims who started this tradition; but it has been a year of struggles. We've been through a lot, and who knows what next year will bring? But come what may, we'll be there for each other. And we'll be thankful.


So, will I still be lonely sometimes? Sure, aren't we all? But I'll never be alone.



"Jackson Browne saved my life." 


I was playing recently at an outdoor venue, and an older gentleman stood nearby and listened intently. When I stopped for a short break, he walked up to me. “You sound a lot like Jackson Browne”, he said. I’d never heard that comparison before, and being a big fan of Jackson Browne, I took it as a huge compliment. “Jackson Browne saved my life”, he went on. As a lover of stories, I knew this would be a good one. So I asked him to explain.


He shared that as a younger man, he suffered from severe depression. His life had become so unbearable that he had decided to commit suicide. “My mind was made up”, he said, “the only question was just how to do it.” During this time, he heard the song “Doctor My Eyes” by Browne. “Something in the song touched my heart. It gave me hope, something to hold onto; a reason to go on living.”


I started playing again, and he stood with tears in his eyes as I fumbled my way through a Jackson Browne cover. He smiled and thanked me, then made his way down the street alone.


Wow. Will I ever write a song that will save someone’s life? Maybe not, but hopefully I’ve made someone smile, tap their feet, or forget about their worries for awhile. And maybe that’s enough.