Introducing: Hillbilly Vegas

Oklahoma’s finest, Hillbilly Vegas have touched down to start their debut UK tour – The Great British Hustle. We caught up with lead vocalist/guitarist Steve Harris to get the lowdown on all things Hillbilly Vegas…

What are the origins of Hillbilly Vegas, how long have you been playing together? And tell us about Ringo Manor, who is it named after?

That’s a complicated question. For fun a little over 12 yrs. As a true touring band about 6 yrs. As a full-fledged business recording and touring, about 4 yrs. Everyone calls our rhythm guitarist Johnny Reed “Ringo.” He lives in a little house way out in the country miles from anyone. We started out writing at his house. I used to joke that we were writing at “Ringo Manor” and it stuck.

How did you feel performing your first gig as a band, and how was it?!

Our first gig was a low-key little thing for friends and family at our local coffee house. It was just fun playing music again after taking more than a decade away from music to raise our families. We loved every second of that night.

Hillbilly Vegas play a mixture of Southern Rock and Country Rock, what is it about these genres that make them travel so well and find such a large audience overseas?

We are just a rock band. Obviously, we are influenced by our environment but still, we just think of ourselves as a rock band. We create what’s in our hearts and on our minds. That’s something that crosses all oceans and borders.

The music industry has changed so much since 2011 and the days of the ‘Ringo Manor’ album, in your own experience as a musician, what has been the biggest pros and cons in the last 13 or so years concerning the music industry?

Pros: There’s a lot of freedom in the music business today.

Cons: There’s a lot of FREE in the music business today.

This run of dates with Luke Morley followed by headlining dates of your own will be the first chance for the UK to catch the full band in all-electric glory, what can anyone buying a ticket expect?

A throwback, no tricks, no tracks, a real rock show.

Looking at the tour schedule you have a few tricky accents to deal with, as well as some bizarre local food – have you been doing your homework?!

Oh man…you guys don’t have anything on us. We are Southerners and Oklahomans! There are a dozen different Southern dialects and then there are four and five Oklahoma dialects too. As for the food…trying new things is a passion of ours. One of the best parts of our job is the experiences. We love it!

The origins of the word “hillbilly” are often associated with Scottish & Irish heritage, any of either within the band?

Oh yeah a couple of us have Irish and Scottish blood.

Hillbilly Vegas are also appearing at Planet Rock, Winters End, will you have time to check out the other bands performing?

I really wish we did have time. We will most likely arrive only in time to play. I’ve checked out a couple of the bands on our day and they’re very good. Unfortunately, we are usually the last and least likely to see other bands unless we are touring with them. It feels like we are always running.

Planet Rock has been spinning both ‘High Time for a Good Time’ and ‘Hell to Pay’, is it surreal knowing that there are radio stations on the other side of the world playing Hillbilly Vegas?

It never gets old. We’ve had a few singles do well around the world. What’s new for us is finally being able to visit those places that embrace our music. It’s such an honor. We love it.

What are you working on at the minute?

We are on a plane right now. We toured all summer with Ted Nugent. When we got home in September we were exhausted so we took a few weeks off and then began working on our next album. We are about halfway through as of the finish of this…sentence.

Excluding yourself, which new band would you like to see break out and become a success?

Oh man….see if I was dishonest here I’d look a few new bands up and then answer. The truth is I don’t really know who’s out there doing what? I’m the wrong guy to ask. However, I have been keeping my eye on a couple of unsigned UK bands. So I’ll mention one of them. I like this band in the UK called Brave Rival. They’re very, very talented. I hope they succeed. If you see them tell them I said I like their music.

Everyone is a fan of something, who or what are you a fan of?

College football. Specifically the Oklahoma Sooners! BOOMER SOONER!

The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

I love gospel music. I have several Southern gospel albums.

What does 2024 hold for Hillbilly Vegas?

I hope it holds happiness.

Hillbilly Vegas are:
Steve Harris – Lead Vocals/Guitar, Stacy Thornburg – Guitar/Vocals, Johnny Reed – Guitar/Vocals, Robb Edwards – Bass/Vocals, Troy Hollinger – Drums.

Hillbilly Vegas UK tour dates:

January

25 *Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill
26 *Glasgow Cathouse
27 *Newcastle Riverside
28 Old Parcels Office, Scarborough
29 *Nottingham Rescue Rooms
30 *Cardiff The Globe
31 *London Islington Academy

February

1 Leicester, Musician
4 Planet Rock, Winters End. Trecco Bay
6 Newcastle, Trillians
7 Stoke, Eleven
8 London, The Cavern, Raynes Park
9 Hastings, The Carlisle
10 Southend, Chinnerys

*Special Guests of Luke Morley.

Details and ticket links on the website:
https://www.hillbilly-vegas.com/

Photo credit – Joe Ward

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