Hey kids. Last December Bella and I played a little shindig at High & Dry Brewing, put together by our friend Firebird FM. A gentleman by the name of Joe Smith, Stringer was in the audience and had a thing or two to say about our performance. Folks, if this is the only thing ever written about Billy & Bella, I could be very alright with that. The Stringer's string of verbal pearls paints quite the picture;) Here is the piece, in its full glory. BFD
Billy & Bella @ High & Dry Brewing; Onward Shangri-la
December 29, 2022.
Seasoned writers say “write what you know” and I am tragically confident and fluent in all things dark, twisted, painful, and perverse in life: dark humor, natural disasters, human suffering, loss, and inexplicable pain that has lingered far too long without exorcism or banishment of sorts. I can easily write a scene of loss, grief, tragedy, or the consequences of bad decisions. A proverbial lifetime of bad decisions.
And then they say “step out of your comfort zone and write something challenging” and all my productivity stops. Ideas disappear. Subject matter jumps off the 35th floor of the Nakatomi Plaza to its graphic death and sprays bone chips, bile, and blood all over the nine thousand-dollar Dolce & Gabbana white fur coat of the German super model walking by, drinking her iced white coffee with cherry syrup and a half can of sugar-free Red Bull dumped in, as she utters indistinguishable profanity for being subjected to my failures before her gala Christmas party entrance.
It’s fun writing what I know to elicit an emotion, or to create a wild and ridiculous scene, or perhaps to describe a setting in such a vague way that it allows the reader to fill in some of the blanks, from their own imagination. Those things are so much fun and the material flows from me, to the page with ease and vigor. What is not fun or easy for me is happy shit. I am not well-versed in the happy, the joy, the love, or the fancy spirited. I previously avoided happy people, overly happy activities, and things that seemed “fake happy” to me. That last one is more like a vibe and I avoided events or people that appeared to be happy on the outside, but something colder and darker lurked beneath the surface. The irony of it all is not lost on me, that happiness and love were the ignition source to go public with my local music experience stories. Love and happiness motivated me to give back, to show love to the artists that provided that experience, and to connect my readers to the music and artists that were able to teleport me to a specific place in my journey, a vibe, or a happy memory that had been buried by cemented layers of anger over the decades.
Shawn and Anna Lightfoot, who perform as Billy Daely and Bella Roux, are two of the most beautiful, supportive, outgoing, fun, charismatic, and energetic humans on the entire planet. Billy and Bella are the quintessential definition of happy people. I’ve met them a few times and they radiate playful love and laughter, even when discussing mundane, technical, or environmental topics, they continue to actively listen, process information, and share their opinions and beliefs in a manner that is gentle and non-threatening. They are the kind of humans that project their energy to others in their circle and still have enough blood-curling mojo remaining to get up and play an hour set for the fine folks in the audience. When they play, they play hard and crisp, surging with exuberance. The first thing that struck me during their set was their authenticity. Their music matched and portrayed their off-stage persona and their sound was incredibly intoxicating and electrifying. Watching them play on stage was a delightful treat, visually and audibly, and gave me an overwhelming sense that they are the real deal; ain't no fake happy with these two. There is an element of being one with nature, other humans, and mystical spirits that comes out in their music, and they do it with genuine flair, playful humor, high energy, and dreamy personal experiences.
Watching Billy play intricate, old-world stuff with a spine-chilling modern twist on his acoustic was so much fun and he took me to several happy memories and a few futuristic journeys. Billy’s guitar provided a mild psychedelic vibe to a crisp mountain sunset image with an electrical breeze blowing by the observer. Watching Bella play on her acoustic, sometimes with a finger slide, gave the duo depth and gumption, and added a lively, bewitching pop of excitement and some feminine gunslinger grit to the show. Bella’s voice hovered over the crowd and permeated all the bodily senses, both real and mystical. Billy and Bella possess a high-octane dose of melodic mojo while performing and you can tell they are doing something they love and are having a blast doing it! As you watch them play, you can clearly see they are two separate people, but you get a sense they are one soul because they vibe off each other’s energy and that doesn’t come from practice sessions or a one-hour live set. That comes from a love so deep, that can only be expressed (publicly) in music; in song; and in a world where two professionals combine their energy into one amplified spirit that makes ya float joyfully over The Wasteland.
Billy and Bella will take you on an 1880's steampunk Southwestern-style journey through the desert; you’ll feel the soft sand beneath your feet and the warm wind on your face just before Bella’s voice on Whiskey and Roses slams you down, face first into the watering hole with her high heeled boot on your neck before reaching down to pull your soaked, smiling face up to provide a drink from her copper cup of sassy and western charm, and you’ll forget all about crawling through the desert, dying of thirst. As you lie there, cold water drenched on your body, turkey vultures swirling in the sky, you’ll look up and see Billy and Bella walking away into the desert, guitars in their hands, singing a trippy rock song as they laugh and disappear into the horizon of a psychedelic mirage and Onward, to Shangrila.