Album Spotlight: Billy Raffoul - "A Few More Hours at YYZ"
>>Billy Raffoul was born into a musically gifted and artistic family; his father is a musician and his mother a teacher and writer. It’s not surprising that by the time he was twenty years old he had played shows in bars, truck stops, and everywhere in between from his hometown in Leamington Ontario to Detroit. If you’ve never heard Billy sing his voice doesn’t sound like it could come from him. He’s young and model-esque, but his voice is ages old, a scratchy deep register that is throaty and unique. Since 2017 he has released several songs and EP’s amassing an incredible following and millions of streams and views across every major service and platform.
Billy caught his break while singing on some demos for Kid Rock in the studio, a job that he would occasionally get due to his one of kind voice. The guys in the booth were so impressed they sent some cell phone videos to Kid Rock’s manager and soon the song driver came out. It’s a true to life story about him and his father playing a gig on an island in the middle of Lake Erie. Billy’s songs are rooted in his life, maybe the reason they have so much raw emotion behind them.
In his newest EP, A Few More Hours at YYZ, the trend of emotionally raw and vulnerable music continues. It opens with the title track, a piano based ballad that showcases the singer/songwriter's range and depth. Several parallels to the world’s largest superstars can immediately be drawn in his voice, from the gravelly rasp of Bono, to the emotional roots of Bruce Springsteen, to the vibrato of Tom Waits. It’s incredibly soulful complete with a menagerie of backup singers to layer and add chorus.
Without Falling in Love is the next track, a bit more pop driven and radio friendly than the first track. It’s well written and the hook gets instantly stuck in your head. It still has Billy’s sound though, which is usually only apropos when writing about one of the previously mentioned superstars. For whatever reason Raffoul has already designated his sound. He’s been preparing for this his whole life, so it isn’t completely surprising, but absolutely worth mentioning.
On Kingston, ON Raffoul’s lyrics are on display. The song is pretty and could best be described as lovely in a single word. There’s a mention of Springsteen and you can see so much of The Boss in Billy, a young man who could possibly be one of the biggest stars in rock, just by the sheer nature of his writing ability, dashing good looks, and unicorn voice. This album isn’t just the next in the line of his library, it’s a kind of coming out, an exposure and culmination of years of hard work and collaboration with people who saw the same talent in him that his own parents must have seen.
If you’re supposed to save the best for last, then It’s a Beautiful Life is just that. The sixth and last track on A Few More Hours at YYZ is compelling, sad, wonderful, and soulful. It has a soundtrack quality to it, a score, and maybe that score is what we’re all feeling and going through right now. The orchestral song reminds us of ephemeral times, a poignant lesson that we must all choose to learn from, looking ahead and what life may bring us in the future, while still staying grounded to where we are now.
The six songs are streaming everywhere currently and it’s completely worth your time, no matter what style of music you prefer, to take a listen. This is the budding of an amazing star and where those limits can take him no one knows. Get on the bandwagon now and go for the ride.