BILLY McCALL: Handshakes, Fist Bumps, Hugs, and High Fives: CD and zine

The zine world’s Billy McCall (Proof I Exist and many other titles) made a country album (tucked into a zine, no less). The strummed guitar and vocals are nice and relaxing. The lyrics are pleasant slices of life that anyone can relate to. Most songs remind me of Tom T. Hall in the way that they’re lighthearted and humorous while avoiding the quick expiration date of joke songs. This is the general tone of the songs from “Parking Lot”—a song about Billy and his partner making the best out the view of a parking lot from an upper story window—to “Out Fer a Walk”—a song about seeing a UFO while walking the dog. However, there are exceptions. “I Used to Have a Brother” is one of them; a song about the time he felt like he lost his brother to addiction. Perhaps the best track on the album is the closing cut, “If You Relate.” It’s about being a weirdo artist, the joys and sadness of being an “artist with something to say,” and finding solidarity with people who are similarly driven. I can relate and this album gets fist bumps and regular rotations. –Craven Rock ([email protected], iknowbilly.etsy.com)