Bill’s Timeline

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October 12, 1951   I am born at Georgia Baptist Hospital.
Sept. 1960   I am baptized at Sylvester Baptist Church. Everyone was crying and walking down the aisle. It seemed the thing to do.  
Feb. 9, 1964    The Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. How do you spell epiphany? 
Dec. 25, 1964   I receive my first guitar, A Sears Silvertone with an amplifier in the case, and a Mel Bay book of chords.
March ?   I begin guitar lessons with one Albert Coppinger, who lives near my home. He plays a D'Angelico and I play my Silvertone. We meet about 6 times. He insists on a free right hand for rhythm. I just can't do it. I discontinue the lessons.
Oct. 12, 1965   I receive the album " Play Guitar With The Ventures " For my birthday. I begin obsessing.
1966   I discover my fathers album " The Best Of Jimmy Reed ". More obsession.
I purchase the single " The Promise land" by Chuck Berry. Still more.
1967   I begin playing with a friend from school named David Nabors. My first actual playing with someone else. We form a band with Eddie McMillan and Hoppy Stover, and play some high school dances. By now I've become pretty proficient at picking out the chords of songs from the radio. Other friends from school start coming to my house for "Soul Sessions". I become a commodity.
I join the East Atlanta High School mixed choir and chorus, under the direction of Mac Burns. My singing begins to develop.
1968   I form a band with Gary Sherby and Joffre Brock called Channel 13. We play school dances and teen clubs. Take third in a "Battle of the Bands", against much older players.
Oct. 11, 1968     My father dies.
1969  I discover Muddy Waters, and decide that blues is my direction. I check out archival albums from the library, Robert Johnson, Blind Willie Johnson. I never return them. 
I leave high school, rather than do remedial summer school.
1970   I take up the harmonica. I form my first blues band, Jellyroll, with Jimmy Bullard, Joe Barron, and Hal Berry. We begin playing The Twelfth Gate Coffee House on a regular basis. Free shows in Piedmont Park. We change the name of our band to The Eastside Blues band. We become more or less the "go to" blues band around Atlanta. We open for Big Mama Thornton and George "Harmonica" Smith. I give up the harmonica.
I meet and later move in with Bruce Hampton. He renames me "The Slicer".
I meet Alec Janolous who later becomes my producer.
1971   We open for B.B. King At Lake Spivey. We open a major blues show at the City Auditorium featuring
 T- Bone Walker, Big Joe Turner, Al Hibbler and many others. We are well received by a virtually all black audience. We are gratified.
I get to play with John Lee Hooker!
Oct. 29,   Duane Allman Dies. 
1972   I meet Thom Doucette ( Having left the Allman Bros.) and we decide to start a band. We call it The Solid Senders. We start playing in Macon Ga. regularly. We stay at Berry Oakley's house and play often at Grants Lounge.
Oct.  I move with Thom to Sarasota Florida and live with John Lamby on Siesta Key. I meet Ritchie Kicklighter. We form a band With Thom and Richard Kilgore and Bill Burke.
1973   I Form " The Mystic Knights Of the Sea" with Glenn Phillips, Jim Bullard and Joe Barron. We open 5 nights for Muddy Waters at Richards. It is our only gig. Muddy says my version of "Kokomo" is the best he ever heard except when he played it. I am flabbergasted.
1974 The Solid Senders are back and fourth between Florida, Macon and Atlanta. Thom moves to New York. I follow along.
I lose 130 pounds. I move back to Atlanta in the fall. My mother doesn't recognize me. 
I ride my bicycle from Atl. to Sarasota. Get hit by a car in Bradenton. My ear is detached from my head. I'm in the hospital for several days. My ear is reattached. The next night I do a gig on Siesta Key with my head in a full bandage. I sell my Bike.
Fall   My first plane ride. Back to Atlanta still living with Bruce Hampton. 
Back to Sarasota. Then back to Atlanta. I am asked to act as singer on Roy Buchanan's next album. I shit my pants.
Back to New York and then out to Sausalito  Ca. for 3 weeks of sessions at The Record Plant. Neil Larsen, Bill Stewart, Kenny Tibbetts and The Tower Of Power Horns. Ed Freeman producing ( American Pie). Back to Atlanta.
1975   Roy Buchanan's album " In the Beginning" is released on Polydor Records. Later, I do a series of shows with Roy, including "Don Kirshners Rock concert." for TV. 
I Form a band with Butch Trivette And Jim Radway (Sergeant Rock). We play Ray Lee's Blue Lantern and later The Northside Tavern. During this time, I'm playing much more country music. Hank Williams, George Jones and pre- Willie  Waylon Jennings. It's a learning time. We become a regular opening act at The Great Southeast Music Hall. Tom Rush, Tim Hardin, many others. I begin to realize the importance of the songwriting.
August 16, 1977   Elvis Presley dies.
Oct.   Ritchie Kicklighter moves to Atlanta. We form a band with Hal Berry and call it Cool Breeze. We tour the east  coast from New York to Key West for the next three years. We do shows  during this time with many well known and soon to be well known touring acts, including Stevie Ray Vaughan ( with Luann Barton ), Average White Band, many others. During this time I play no guitar at all. Just straight up vocals.
August 26,1978   I'm blessed with a beautiful daughter. We name her Honeybee. Muddy Waters agrees to be her Godfather. 
1980   I tire of the constant traveling and personnel changes and quit Cool Breeze. 
I  Form The XL's with Van Miller, Jeff Mosely and Peter Chakales. More touring, same drill. I'm back on guitar. 
1982   Tom Benson joins on guitar. Jeff Mosley leaves.
We play The Harvest Moon Saloon and The Moonshadow Saloon mostly when in town and Travel the rest of the time. We open for many great acts. Bonnie Raitt, The Thunderbirds, Stevie Ray, Junior Walker and the Allstars, Jaco Pastorious, B.B, King and many many more. 
Tom Benson leaves and Ricky Callahan joins.
1983    We release our self titled album to virtually no response. We continue touring.
1984  Peter Chakales leaves and T.K. Lively comes in.
1985 T.K leaves and Bill Stewart joins. Van Miller leaves.
1987   Road burn. We decide to disband.
 On August 10th I'm blessed with a beautiful son. We name him Preston Daniel.
 I go into alcohol rehab.  I latch my guitar case and don't open it again for 3 years.
1988 Sunday August 28. 2:55 A.M. A burglar enters my home. I confront him in the kitchen. He threatens. I shoot him. He dies two steps out the side door. Months later we still find specks of blood in the kitchen.
1990   Once again bitten by the bug, a band is formed with myself, Tom Gray and Tommy Dean called Baby and the Boomers. Various drummers, Bill Stewart, Steve Bryant, others. We gig around Atlanta for about a year. I become more and more interested in the acoustic guitar approach. Begin doing some solo gigs.
1992   I meet and begin a project with Liane Webb that we call Real Time. I begin, in earnest, for the first time, writing material of my own.
1994 We begin an album project with Al Janolous, and continue working clubs around Atlanta.
1995  Real Time, Sheffield and Webb gigged on along. Many great second guitarists in the band during this period. Oliver Wood, Mark Johnson, Kenny Kilgore and Patrick Foster all took turns.  
1997 The album is finally released to virtually no response.
 We end the Real Time project. I continue doing solo gigs and join a band called Hoodoo Blue with Larry Griffith, Bo Spring and Cindy Adler. We host the Monday night jam at The Northside Tavern for the next two years. Various other local gigs.
2000    By now my interest has moved totally to the acoustic approach. I gig alone, or with a small rhythm section, doing songs I'd written along with lots of classic blues. I begin recording my songs at home. I form The Ringtail Rounders with Lee Goodness (drums),  John Wieland (bass), and Steve "Fish" Alquist ( harp).
Anita Volpe opens The Blue Raccoon in Marietta Ga. We accept the gig as Friday and Saturday night house band. 
2001  Fish leaves and Jon Liebman joins.   I meet Lamar Jones and together we release the album "Penny Candy". It meets with a good local response, and sells well.
May     Dave Saunders and Harry Skinner from the U.K. perform at the Blue Raccoon.
Dave Saunders recommends a U.K. tour. Sounds like a great idea to me. I tour England, Scotland and Wales with Dave, Simon Kenevan on harmonica and Sam Kelly on drums.
2002  We record "Live at the Blue Raccoon" with Jon Liebman on Harmonica. Richard Wells producing.
I begin doing the "Tuesday Night Madness" gig at The Northside Tavern every week with Donnie McCormick.
Donnie is given, by his "doctor", six months to live. Six years later we still do that gig. We release a very rough live album that people still seem to love.
2003   Another tour of Britain and Belgium with Dave, Simon and this time Joe Barron on drums. John Wieland leaves Ringtail and Tim White begins. I continue recording in my home studio.
2004    Another tour of England, this time with Bart Mastin on drums.
 I meet Jeff Catton.  We release the album  "Hearing Things" on American Roots Records.  
2005  Still with the Tuesdays and working on another album that will become "Journal on a Shelf ". 
"Journal on a Shelf " is released on American Roots Records. It is very well received and reviewed. Another Europe tour, France, Belgium and England with Paul Linden and Dave Saunders.
2006   A tour of California with Cindy Adler, Simon Kenevan and Andy Tomco. I see my sister for the first time in 16 years. 
I finish my work on the next album, final production to be done in Nashville by Rex Schnelle. He is brilliant and creates a silk purse from my sow's ear.
East coast U.S. tour with Dave Saunders. Cherry Blossom Festival In Washington D.C.
2007 " Got a Gig, Gotta Go" is released on American Roots Records.
 France and England tour with Dave Saunders as a duet.
A new project begins with Nathan Nelson, Andy Tomco and Dave Roth. We call it One Clean Finger.
2008   Working on the next album.
Feb. 26- Mar 9  Touring France. Dave Saunders accompanies. Great tour. Standing O's!
Mar. 25  I am blessed with a beautiful grandson. Julian Jeremiah Sibble born at 9lbs. 6 oz.  Honeybee and Danyale doing fine.
March 9-  John Madden, a dear friend and great singer, guitarist, passes away suddenly. Everyone is shocked.  
May 15- Sean Costello dies of an accidental overdose. It is a rib crushing body blow to the Atlanta blues scene.
June  After seven years and after Donnie has decided to stop, I leave the Tuesday night gig at The Northside. It's just time. 
June 23- July 22   Another Tour of England with Dave. Tough one this time. The economy as bad as the weather.
Aug- Sept. Touring Florida and working toward finishing the new album. My son Dan is joining me in the studio and amazing me!
November 26- Wayne "Bear" Sauls passes on. Another big loss.
2009- January 11- Donnie McCormick dies quietly in his sleep. The end of an era. Miss him miss him miss him. 
Final mixes on the new album. It's to be called, In Other Words...

Copyright: Bill Sheffield 2016-2017 - Site by S. talkovich