It’s fitting that Billy Bob Thornton & The Boxmasters cover two Mike Nesmith songs on their latest album, because Nesmith and Thornton have a lot in common. They’re both Hollywood cowboys: Southern boys with honky-tonk in their DNA, and musicians who stumbled into acting careers before eventually backpedaling into their first loves.
Thornton admires great lyricists like John Prine and Kris Kristofferson and, as his best screenwriting demonstrates, he’s got a knack for storytelling and an ease with rural, working-class vernacular. At his best, he’s unapologetically rude, frank, and funny: “Stop tellin’ me stuff/quit askin’ me shit/can’t you see I’m watchin’ the game?”
Thornton and his bandmates — J.D. Andrew and Mike Butler — are products of the ‘60s, when you could hear Buck Owens on the radio and see the Beatles on TV (or vice versa), and even hear The Beatles covering Buck Owens, so they throw some Brit-Invasion twists into their country two-steps.
Like Kristofferson, Thornton has a homely, inelegant voice, but when you’re expressing homely, inelegant sentiments (“Wipe me off your shit list and let me be your man”), it works. 8pm Wed, July 23, Scout Bar, 19134 US 281 North
Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.