Billy Buchanan has called St. Augustine home since 2007. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Billy’s gritty soulful sound has been a welcomed alternative to an already thriving folk scene in the nation’s oldest city. Averaging five shows a week (250 dates a year!), Billy has been nicknamed the “Hardest working musician in town”. Not only is he a regular at local restaurants, hotels, country clubs, and concert venues, he’s headlined many of the main festivals, including Music By The Sea, Rhythm and Ribs, The Lincolnville Festival, Cathedral Festival, and The New Years Eve Beach Blast Off. But what many people don’t know, is that Billy has been on this musical adventure for quite a while.
Billy Buchanan has had an illustrious twenty year career. As an award winning recording artist, he’s released five albums as a solo artist and two albums with his former band Fusebox (Elevate/EMI). He’s had three Top 20 songs on the CCM charts and has performed in all fifty states and in twenty six countries. As a sideman, he's played bass, guitar, or sang background vocals for many great artists, including Grammy winners Rebecca St. James, Michael Tait, and John Carter Cash. He has shared the stage with an amazingly diverse list of artists, including Joy Williams (from The Civil Wars), Shawn Mullins, Sixpence None The Richer, JohnnySwim, The New Orleans Suspects, David Ryan Harris, G Love and Special Sauce, Switchfoot, Funky Meters, P.O.D, The Four Tops, Alice In Chains, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, and Jennifer Nettles (from Sugarland), to name a few. As a songwriter and producer, he's worked with Busbee, Mike Hartnett, Marc Byrd, Brendan O’Brian, Dave Cobb and other established writers and producers. He produced all of his solo albums, numerous independent artist’s albums, and co-produced Fusebox’s “Once Again” album. As an actor, he was nominated for a Dove Award for his role in the touring production, Hero The Rock Opera. As an educator, Billy has taught hundreds of private students, overseen various camps, workshops, and seminars throughout the country, and is currently the Music Education Director at University Christian School in Jacksonville, FL. Billy has
always had a knack for seeing more in people than they may see in themselves. Over the years, he’s had some exceptional musicians in his bands and sit under his tutelage. The list includes Adam Nitti (Kenny Loggins, Steven Curtis Chapman), Tom Knight (TLC, Emmy Award Winner), Mike Hartnett (Fergie), Chris Smith (Kriss Kross), Nico Constantine (Lady Gaga), Nash Overstreet (Hot Chelle Rae), Casey Pollock (Sara Evans), Ben McLeod (All Them Witches), and Tim Braisted (Brit Nicole). He also has his own radio show, The Soul of Jazz, that airs on Flagler College Radio and iHeart Radio. Billy attended Cleveland State University and The Atlanta Institute of Music, and is currently pursuing double major degrees in Music Education and Communications through Louisiana Baptist University (online). Originally from Cleveland, OH, he has also lived in Atlanta, GA and Nashville, TN.
His music is best described as “Jump jiving, rock and roll grooves meet juke joint, rhythm and blues”. Born and raised in Cleveland, OH, the city where DJ Alan Freed first coined the phrase "Rock and Roll", Billy Buchanan has a deep musical heritage. Investing in his father's LPs at a very young age, he became a disciple of blues, rock, soul, and country pioneers like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, and Buddy Holly. Billy proudly stands on the shoulders of, and pays homage to, those artists who paved the way for him. But what really sets him apart is his original music. He blends thought provoking, often inspiring lyrics, with vintage backbeat rhythms. His songs are a true celebration of life, bringing people of all ages, races, and backgrounds together. When rock and roll was still in its infancy, it was electrifying, unrestrained, and unapologetic. Whether live or recorded, His music encompasses the energy and rawness of those early days, while unquestionably breathing new life into St. Augustine’s music scene. Whether solo or with his band, Free Avenue, behind him, Billy Buchanan is a must see.
Over the past year, Billy has written a stage production about St. Augustine’s most famous former resident, Ray Charles. The show mainly focuses on Ray’s years at The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind from 1937 – 1945. Billy performs as Ray. The show is filled with music, laughter, heartbreak, and redemption. Billy debuted it during the 450th Celebration to rave reviews, and plans to perform it regularly at a prominent local venue as a tourist attraction.
Be on the lookout for it!