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About Billy Denham
Parents of Billy and Gary Denham
Our Family
My Musical Heritage
My Cassette Albums
My CD's
Other Family Members
Tablature of My Music
Places We Are Playing


Here you'll learn all about me: my Melungeon heritage, my family, when I started playing the guitar and who are the people who have influenced my style and my music

I started playing the guitar when I was twelve years old. There had been a guitar in our house since 1947, when my grandpa bought my brother a used S S Stewart at the local pawnshop. But it wasnt until the summer of 1956 that I really took an interest in playing. There were two sisters that lived across the street from me and they were out on the porch one-day playing a record by a new singer named Elvis Presley. I like the song ok, but when the guitar player took a break in the middle of the song I went ballistic! I had never heard guitar playing like that before. It was years before I learned that the guitar player on the record was Scotty Moore, and like him, I would become a fan of Chet Atkins. That evening when my brother got home, I ask him to show me a few chords and I told him about the song I had heard on the record. Im sure he thought I was a hopeless case, but he showed me the chords anyway, and so began my musical career.

I never had any formal lessons; I would just search out guitar players and listen to them play. Then one day my brother told me about a guitar player who lived just three blocks away from our house and he was better than Scotty Moore. I didnt believe it; so I went to see and hear for myself. His name was Jack Renshaw and he was one heck of a picker. He played with a thumbpick; something I didnt know at the time that Chet and Scotty both did. I found out that Jacks influence was Merle Travis and Chet Atkins. You better know I was at his house every evening watching him play and asking questions. That Christmas Mom and Dad bought me a record player from Western Auto and I bought my first Chet Atkins record, a small 33 1/3 rpm with four tunes on it called an EP or extended play album. The name of it was A Session with Chet Atkins. It was over my head, but I was determined to learn to play thumb and fingerstyle guitar. Although I learned to play many of Chets tunes I was still hooked on the sound of Rockabilly guitar, like I first heard on Elvis Presleys song "Thats Alright Mama". Then came "Blue Suede Shoes", "Lets Play House" and "Mystery Train". As I learned to play, I switched back and forth from the classic Chet style of music to the hard driving music of Rock and Roll guitar. Those two influences can still be heard today when I play.

One of my dreams came true in 1993 as I got the chance to meet Scotty Moore at a guitar convention in Nashville, Tennessee. I got the chance to tell him the story of how his guitar playing on Thats Alright Mama had made me want to be a guitar player. I have a picture posted of me and Scotty and my brother taken at that meeting. I also got to meet Chet numerous times and talk to him on the phone. He was a true country gentleman, always a kind word for everyone.

Thats how my musical talent developed. I hope you enjoy my music.

Playing at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society Convention in Nashville, TN.

Here I am with Scotty and Gary when we met at CAAS

Here I am with another picker that I played a lot of his tunes, Duane Eddy.

Me and Tommy Jones. He was an artist with a guitar. He left us too soon.

Please sign my Guestbook
Also, check out my videos on Youtube, just type in Billy Denham or
bgdenham. It's just me, but, not too bad.

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