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  • Writer's pictureRobin Pearl

Episode One: Meet Billy

Updated: Apr 15, 2019

Americana is recognized as an amalgam of all kinds of roots music—bluegrass, folk, R&B, singer-songwriter—if it features acoustic instruments, a story to tell, and doesn’t fit into the cramped confines of mainstream country radio, it’s Americana.

In the early 1990s Billy Block hosted the Western Beat Radio Hour, on KIEV-AM 870 Radio in Los Angeles. At that time, if you were to look up the term Americana (in an encyclopedia...) you’d likely find images of handmade quilts, roadside diners and vintage Fords. There was no Americana music genre.

But that’s the music that Billy played when he started out in Houston in the 70s. That’s the music he played a decade later as house drummer for the infamous Ronnie Mack’s Barn Dance at the Palomino Club in North Hollywood. It’s the music he featured on his Western Beat live show and the music he wanted to hear on the radio. Given the standing-room-only crowds at the Barn Dance and Western Beat, he knew he wasn’t alone.

So, he made his playlists—packed them with friends and artists he loved: Lucinda Williams, Jim Lauderdale, The Mavericks, Delbert McClinton and many more you’ll hear about as the weeks go on. He hosted his radio show and featured live guests every Monday night from midnight to 1:00 a.m.

Billy and Jill Block

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