“We’re a road band,” says Blackjack Billy member Rob Blackledge, describing the Reviver Records group’s approach to music. The group has been playing music together for the past three years, logging numerous hours on the road and using each performance as a testing ground for new songs. “We record new songs as we write them. We’ll perform them for fans and see which ones really connect with the audience.”
The group recently showcased its high-octane stage presence and layered harmonies during a performance for MusicRow staffers. Blackjack Billy’s effervescent performance comes courtesy of members Blackledge, Noll Billings, Jeff Coplan, and Brad Cummings.
The group’s tightly-woven harmonies sounded effortless on the self-penned songs “I Got A Feeling,” “The Booze Cruise,” “Night Light” and current single “Why God Made Summertime.”
Coplan and Blackledge found early success as songwriters for duo Love and Theft. Blackledge co-wrote Love and Theft’s 2009 single “Runaway” with Canaan Smith and Stephen Barker Liles, while Coplan co-wrote the duo’s 2011 hit “Angel Eyes,” with Eric Paslay.
Blackjack Billy’s growing fanbase and songwriting skills caught label attention, leading to a deal with Bigger Picture Group. The group’s dedication to fans and touring never stalled, even after Bigger Picture shuttered in 2014, just months after the signing. “We had fans who had been with us from the beginning, and we felt like they were waiting on an album, so we went ahead and released an album as an indie band,” said Blackledge.
While with Bigger Picture, Blackjack Billy had signed separate deals with companies in Canada and Australia. “We had three different labels,” said Coplan. “When Bigger Picture shut down, we were still rolling in Canada and Australia. It took us this long to catch up in the US and be synchronized with the same single.”
Blackjack Billy has found new life, inking deals with Reviver Records and Red Light Management. The Agency Group has signed on to handle booking, while Wortman Works Media & Marketing oversees public relations.
Meanwhile, Coplan does double duty as the group’s producer. Blackledge says, “With Jeff’s abilities as a producer, we don’t have to pay anyone to record music. If we write a song and we like it, we can do it all. We don’t have to hire musicians. We haven’t even had a tour manager. Since we hooked up with Red Light, we’ve been really self-sufficient, which has allowed us to do things our way.”
The group has numerous tour dates lined up for the coming months, including a show June 11 during CMA Music Festival at the Belk Plaza Stage.
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