Folk Roots Radio Episode 523: feat. Ol’ Billy Bob Boy & More New Releases

Folk Roots Radio Episode 523: feat. Ol Billy Bob Boy & More New Releases

Cornerbrook NF based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ol’ Billy Bob Boy joins us on Episode 523 of Folk Roots Radio for a fun conversation about his debut album “Sweltering Sun”, which blends traditional country and bluegrass music together with some tongue in cheek humour and stories inspired by life in Newfoundland and beyond. You may not recognize the name Ol’ Billy Bob Boy, but as Bill Simms he’s performed on upright bass with many other folk musicians. Now, with a new on-stage persona, he’s just released a great debut album, and it’s an excellent interview – we hope you’ll stay with us to check it out. As always, we wrap up the rest of this episode with more of the latest new releases, and this time around we hear from The Avenoir Project, Zaac Pick, ConChie, Turkeyfoot, Vi Wickam and Paul Anastasio, Gretchen Peters and The Treeline. Check out the full playlist below.


Bill Simms has performed as a side musician on upright bass with a number of folk and roots musicians including Raine Hamilton, Abigail Lapell, Piper Hayes, Shawn Willian Clarke and Sarah Beatty. He’s now stepping into the limelight in his own right as his country music singing alter-ego Ol’ Billy Bob Boy. Bill developed Ol’ Billy Bob Boy during a high school art class when he imagined himself as a famous country singer and created a caricature of himself sitting on a bale of hay beneath large text that read “Ol’ Billy Bob Boy’s Holiday Hoedown Boxset”. In 2018, Bill re-imagined this scene for the cover of his debut album Sweltering Sun, this time, placing the character in a lawn chair near a lake with a beverage in hand.

Bill Simms credits his grandparents for stimulating his interest in traditional country music, as he, with their encouragement, explored the catalogues of some of country music’s greatest acts, including Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. While in college Bill furthered his interest by checking out the music of contemporary artists like Corb Lund, Hank Williams III and Little Miss Higgins. It was around this time that Bill landed himself a gig playing upright bass in a Newfoundland theatre festival band revered for its annual country revue. It was after four seasons with this band (and, now, with a music degree under his belt) that Bill began writing his own country songs, while still finding time to hold down the bass end for many other folk acts.

Sweltering Sun features 12 original songs and a stellar cast of young musicians. An album release show for Sweltering Sun had originally been planned for late May at The Tranzac in Toronto with an opening performance by Sarah Beatty. However, due to COVID-19, that show was cancelled in favour of an online release which also featured Sarah Beatty. A cross-Canada tour planned for this summer will be rescheduled for a later date.

For more information about the music of Ol’ Billy Bob Boy, visit

That’s all we have time for. Thanks to all the artists who share their music with us, and thank you for listening. We have a lot of great music and interviews to bring you on future episodes.

If you enjoy the music we play on this show and want to support the artists – many of whom aren’t able to play live at the moment because of the Covid-19 pandemic, don’t just stream their music – that earns them much less than a penny per play. Instead, buy their music – and really make a difference to their income. They’ll love you for it!


You can listen to this episode again on Soundcloud by following the link below. You can also listen to episodes of Folk Roots Radio, on demand, via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Tune-in Radio. (Click on the highlighted link to reach your chosen platform.)


Nicolas & The Iceni (Theme)
Lucy She Rises
Roll Right (2019, self)

The Avenoir Project
Take It All Back
(single) (2020, Self)

Zaac Pick
Strong Enough
Passages (2020, Self) CDN

The Sense Of An Ending
Northumbria (2020, Self)

Promise Of Tomorrow
Promise Of Tomorrow (2020, Self)

Vi Wickam and Paul Anastasio
Louisiana Ruckus
Swinging at the Savoy (2020, Wickam Music)

Ol’ Billy Bob Boy
Darlin’ You Look Great (feat. Mallory Johnson)
Sweltering Sun (2020, Self) CDN

Interview: Ol’ Billy Bob Boy discussing his debut album “Sweltering Sun”.

Ol’ Billy Bob Boy
Carrie Ann
Sweltering Sun (2020, Self) CDN

Ol’ Billy Bob Boy
Bathroom Floor
Sweltering Sun (2020, Self) CDN

Ol’ Billy Bob Boy
Canadian Currency Blues
Sweltering Sun (2020, Self) CDN

Gretchen Peters
Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs Of Mickey Newbury (2020, Scarlet Letter Records)

The Treeline
This Is All
(single) (2020, Self) CDN

About the author


Host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan Hall started in Radio in 1993 at WEFT 90.1fm in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Folk Roots Radio (formerly Royal City Rag) debuted on CFRU 93.3fm in August 2005 before developing into a syndicated radio show. As the host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan focuses on bringing new folk, roots and blues music and the voices of upcoming and independent artists to the airwaves. Jan is also a much sought after stage host and festival emcee. In 2019, Jan Hall received Folk Music Ontario's prestigious Estelle Klein Award for her contribution to Ontario's folk music community.

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