In the world of music, Bill Lloyd has done it all — and if not everything, he’s certainly covered a lot of ground. He’s produced a range of acclaimed artists from the legendary Carl Perkins to MTV reality show indie-rockers, The Secret. As a session player he’s recorded with an equally diverse group of icons from Brit-popstars like Ray Davies of The Kinks and Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze to country legends Buck Owens and Steve Earle. As a sideman he has toured with the likes of Cheap Trick and Marshall Crenshaw, and as a recording artist, Lloyd has racked up acclaim for his solo projects that blend his melodic power pop sensibility with finely tuned song craft. He has also enjoyed mainstream success as one half of country duo Foster & Lloyd.
At the center has always been a passion for songwriting, something that’s paid off for Lloyd as he provided songs for such artists as Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, Sara Evans, Poco, Hootie and the Blowfish and many more.
On his new Lloyd-ering, Lloyd celebrates the artists and the songs that influenced him as a young musician finding his way. The dozen song offering kicks off with the wildly infectious Bobby Fuller Four gem, “Let Her Dance,” and pays tribute to The Byrds (“The World Turns All Around Her”), Badfinger (“Lonely You”), The Lovin’ Spoonful (“Coconut Grove”), The Hollies (“Step Inside”), Harry Nilsson (“The Lottery Song”), The Raspberries (“Goin’ Nowhere Tonight”), Todd Rundgren (“I Don’t Want To Tie You Down”) and of course, The Beatles (“Across The Universe”).
While he’s not the only musician playing on the album, most of the tracks are one-man band recordings (…“Lloyd-ered”). He does enlist a few ace players like multi-instrumentalist Jim Hoke (NRBQ), guitarist Pat Buchanan (Hall & Oates, Cindy Lauper) and Tom Peterson (Cheap Trick). Lloyd recorded many of the tracks alone in his home studio, often for inclusion in other tribute albums. Still, it was his love for these artists’ songs that remained central to what became Lloyd-ering.
After a military brat existence that took him from Texas to Tokyo, Oklahoma to Georgia and Tennessee, Lloyd spent his formative years in the fertile musical ground of Bowling Green, Ky. The area has been home to such nationally acclaimed artists as The Kentucky HeadHunters, New Grass Revival (Sam Bush, John Cowan) and more recently, Cage The Elephant, and Black Stone Cherry.
In the late ’70s, his hometown band Sgt Arms recorded several independent records that received local radio airplay. When that band split up (after a brief stint living in New York), Lloyd headed to Nashville in 1982.
In Nashville’s Alternative Music Scene of the ‘80s, he began making a name for himself for his jangly-guitar driven pop songs that culminated in his acclaimed solo release, Feeling The Elephant. Critics compared his work to artists like Big Star, the dB’s, Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe and The Kinks.
He soon drew the attention of Music City’s publishing community and began collaborating with Texan Radney Foster. Together, Foster andLloyd turned Country Music on its ear with their brand of progressive country, drawing from Lloyd’s musical leanings in sound, style and songwriting. Critics poured praise on the duo as they rose the charts with hits like “Crazy Over You,” “What Do You Want From Me This Time,” “Fair Shake” and “Sure Thing.”
After charting nine singles and scoring Grammy and CMA nominations, the duo split at the end of 1990 (though they occasionally appear live together and five years ago released a reunion record, It’s Already Tomorrow).
Throughout the years, Lloyd continued with a steady stream of independent albums that showed in his love of song craft, displaying his lyrical acumen and melodic sensibilities wrapped in guitar- drenched hooks.
For the past 12 years, Lloyd has continued his musical journey by creating one of Nashville’s most enduring high concept cover bands, The Long Players. They regularly perform classic albums live and in sequence and often recruit musicians who played on the original records (i.e., Al Kooper on Dylan records, Bobby Keys on The Rolling Stones records).
Lloyd’s appreciation for the tools of his trade led to a stint as the Stringed Instrument Curator at the Country Music Hall of Fame where he helped created a quarterly series, Nashville Cats, that he continues to host. He’s also the music director of the First Amendment Center in Nashville and has toured nationally performing the show “Freedom Sings” for the past 17 years.
The diverse nature of his work from playing covers live with The Long Players and recording beloved songs — as on Lloyd-ering — fuelsLloyd’s creative energy for new original music. (Lloyd expects to release a new album later this year).
As for Lloyd-ering, Alan Haber of Pure Pop Radio recently observed is “proof positive that Bill Lloyd (is capable) of wearing someone else’s suit of clothes and making them look just as, or even more, spiffy. These dozen suits of clothes are indeed spiffy, showing in addition to Bill’s ability to make another artist’s songs his own, the wide breadth of musical styles he adores and cherishes.”