One part husband, one part dad, one part public relations executive — all on a sound track of rock ‘n’ roll.
Billy Hickey’s life is completely different from 10 years ago when musician was his full-time career.
As the frontman for St. John’s-based Timber, he and the guys — Rick Hollett, Greg Mercer and Chris Sooley — were all career musicians with regular gigs on George Street, shows at universities across the east coast and beyond, even songs on Hollywood TV soundtracks.
They put out three CDs, spent a lot of time on the road, and then just sort of fizzled out.
“We did everything we could to try and make it, per se,” Hickey explained. “We love the music, we love the playing, but it’s hard to make a living at it. It just felt that it was done.”
Hickey, while finishing university and earning a job in communications, kept writing songs, but found he had no outlet for them.
He did a few solo gigs, playing a few Timber tunes and some covers, but kept the idea of a solo record in the back of his mind for about five years.
After speaking about it with Hollett, who has a recording studio, Hickey found the encouragement and support he needed to get started on the project, and began picking away at it over about three years.
“I just did it whenever I could. Whenever Rick was free and I’d have a free evening or my wife and kids were away, I’d go hard at it. I do work full time and there’s swimming and ballet and music class and stuff like that.”
Hickey’s new release, “From There to Here,” consists of original tracks, although they’re not all new. Some are 10 years old, Hickey having written them piece by piece since then.
He had the help of some high-profile friends on the recording, including Paul Kinsman, Cory Tetford, Paul Lambe, and Great Big Sea’s Alan Doyle.
“(The songs are) mostly ... telling stories of things I’ve seen,” Hickey explained. “There’s nothing really personal on it, just things I’ve seen over the years and stuff like that that I decided to write stories about. A lot of love and relationships.”
The songs are introspective, thoughtful and personal, yet don’t stray too far in terms of their sound from some of Timber’s softer tunes. Hickey’s voice has the same quality it always had; the one that will have you remembering when “Miss Miami” was on regular rotation on the radio.
“From There to Here” was released in stores and online about three weeks ago, and Hickey will officially launch it with a release party at Dusk Ultralounge on George Street Saturday night, with special guest, singer/songwriter/MusicNL nominee Danika Drover. The event starts at 10 p.m.
Hickey’s hoping the new album will lead him back into performing and recording.
“Hopefully it will allow me to play more. Am I going to hop in a Dodge Caravan and go to Montreal any time soon? No, probably not. But I love playing and I love singing and I love writing songs, so I’m going to continue doing that.”
To see a video of Hickey — including an acoustic performance of his song “Pale Blue Eyes,” from the new CD, visit www.thetelegram.com.