My name is Billy Kemp, and I’m a musician. I’ve been playing guitar for forty-five years and also play the banjo, bass, harmonica, piano and anything you can get a sound out of. I live in Nashville, Tennessee where I have hung my hat infrequently, since I spend so much of my time on the road. I average five or six tours annually, which take me all over the United States, Canada and the British Isles. I like hearing the ways people talk, especially their different accents. And then there are all of the stories.
Playing music is on the schedule everyday unless I’m driving on the highways, riding on the rails, or flying in the air and even then, I’m making things on my tablet. I also religiously follow an instruction that was given to me by the great jazz and flamenco guitarist Charlie Byrd. He told me: "Practice your scales everyday. I still do."
Making things out of music is what I like to do - I'm fascinated by the life-cycle of songs; which are first written, then recorded, and finally shared with an audience, at which point a whole new journey begins...
After many wonderful years of writing, recording and performing with the Appalachian Folk duo, Jeni & Billy, I am excited and curious to see where the next bend in the musical highway will lead.
Over the past forty years I’ve recorded five solo albums and written over two hundred songs. I've performed on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry and played loud electric guitar on international rock tours. I have worn the hat of producer, facilitator, teacher and composer. I established and ran a successful studio in the mid-Atlantic area for fifteen years, facilitated a music program at the Baltimore City Detention Center, taught at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and composed music for Maryland Public Television.
Some things I like to do other than music are: yoga, walking, cooking, reading and playing in the dirt or at least outside. My sister recently told a friend that “my brother always wanted to be a farmer” and there may be some truth in that. I can say, like the farmer, I am always hopeful.