Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

New Music Monday: The Lonesome Billies

new music monday the lonesome billies press
Lonesome Billies ArtThe Lonesome Billies released their debut album, It’s Good to Be Lonesome, early this September. The Portland, Oregon-based quartet is composed of childhood friends Clayton McCune, Jeff Gaither, and Mike and Glen Scheidt, all four of whom grew up in Hazel Dell, Washington, north of the city. Released on the Billies’ own Stay Lonesome Records, It’s Good to Be Lonesome blends outlaw country sounds and themes with a DIY, anti-establishment ethic.

The band revel in their outlaw country aesthetic, citing artists like Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson as influences. No song on It’s Good to Be Lonesome fails to mention at least one of drinking, intoxication, and breaking the law. “The Bottom of the Bottle Is Almost Dry” even features a tale like the old joke about a country song played in reverse of a man whose wife leaves him and takes the dog. No mention of a lost truck, though.

Related Videos
The Bottom of the Bottle Is Almost Dry

The key element that separates The Lonesome Billies from their influences and even their contemporaries is the ubiquity of death on It’s Good to Be Lonesome. Track titles include “The Day I Lost My Life” and “Die Lonesome,” and those are just the two tracks with references to death in their names.

Between the title of the album and its themes, a reader could be forgiven for thinking that It’s Good to Be Lonesome is a gloomy journey. That impression would be off the mark, however. The Billies never take too serious a look at the subject, which helps keep the album from becoming ponderous. The narrator of standout track “The Day I Lost My Life” even talks about “kicking rocks and getting stoned” in Hell with “Ol’ Rasputin.”

Bridge City B-Sides - The Lonesome Billies Live at Mississippi Studios (Part 3)

It is not just death The Lonesome Billies take with a hint of levity, but the enterprise of country music in general. Their sound might be heavily influenced by artists like Jennings and Nelson, but the band is not afraid to make jokes about country music either. Even as the narrator of “The Bottom of the Bottle Is Almost Dry” hits rock bottom, his complaint is, “You took my old dog and left me sad, like a country song.”

The Lonesome Billies have taken an old sound and shaken it up with a brilliant combination of darkness and levity. Their sound is indebted to the outlaw country greats, but the band are wise enough to freshen it up with a wink at the very tradition they step out of.

It’s Good to Be Lonesome is available now on Amazon, iTunes, and Bandcamp.

Bridge City B-Sides - The Lonesome Billies Live at Mississippi Studios (Full Set)
The 10 best Adam Sandler movies (they’re not all comedies)
From Uncut Gems to Happy Gilmore, these are the movies that have defined Adam Sandler's career to date.
best adam sandler movies ranked adamsandler

What is there left to say about Adam Sandler? The Sand-Man has been a fixture of pop culture for well over 20 years, having worked first on Saturday Night Live and then broken out in a series of farcical, wonderful comedies in the years after his departure. He's one of the biggest comedy stars on the planet, and we know that in part because he's made plenty of movies that nobody should be forced to watch twice.
For every movie that has immediately been relegated to the trash bin of history, though, Sandler has also made an indelible comedy or a surprising turn into drama. While he may have emerged looking a little bit like a one-trick pony who relies on funny voices for cheap laughs, Sandler turned out to be far more complicated than that. He is a genuinely great actor whenever he wants to be. The rest of the time, he's content to make silly movies with his best friends.

The Waterboy (1998)

Read more
Every ‘Creed’ and ‘Rocky’ movie, ranked
Where does "Creed III" fall on our list of the best "Rocky" and "Creed" movies?
Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan in Creed.

Good sports movies are fairly easy to come by, but great ones can be almost impossible to find. Over the years, the Rocky and Creed franchises have produced movies that fall into each of those categories. When they're good, the movies in this franchise are among the best fighting movies ever made. Even when they're only okay, though, they're still pretty great sports movies.

With the recent release of Creed III, it feels like the appropriate time to take stock of the entire franchise and determine which Rocky movies rise to the top and which ones sink to the bottom. A great Rocky or Creed movie can take a wide variety of  forms, but what matters most is the emotion it evokes in the viewer, and how authentic those feelings are.

Read more
The 11 best podcasts for long road trips in 2023
Make your drive better with these great podcasts for road trips

Spring is nearly here, which means it's time to start thinking about the great American road trip. Whether you're planning to venture from coast to coast or just a few towns over, you're going to want some quality content to listen to. Enter the podcast, the road trip's best friend.

This is not to say you shouldn't embrace the sounds of the road. Nor should you avoid your fellow passengers or overlook that special quiet you get when you're driving an empty road during the wee hours. But at some point along the way, you might want a little sonic pick me up. That's where the road trip podcast really comes in handy, an audio copilot that will keep your brain running while the odometer ticks away.

Read more