About The Boxmasters
The Boxmasters is an American rock band founded in Bellflower, California, in 2007 by Academy Award-winning actor Billy Bob Thornton and J.D. Andrew. The group has released ten albums.
Before he formed the Boxmasters, frontman Thornton had played in bands since middle school, worked as a roadie, recorded in 1974 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and in the 2000s released four solo albums. After listening to "Yesterday's Gone" by Chad & Jeremy and thinking about covering it in a hillbilly music style, he had the idea of making Americanized version of British Invasion pop songs. From mid-2008 to late 2008, the group embarked on a tour across the United States, ending in Los Angeles. It also played for the March 2009 South by Southwest conference. After opening several tours for Willie Nelson in 2009 & 2010, The Boxmasters ceased touring for five years, which they used to write multiple albums and emerged with a more natural sound, as opposed to their early hillbilly leanings.
Billy Bob Thornton—credited on the band's material as W. R. Thornton—has said that " never intended to become a movie star, it happened accidentally. Music is what I love." Before his acting career started, he played in cover bands of Creedence Clearwater Revival, ZZ Top, and also worked as a roadie with Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Johnny Paycheck, Blood, Sweat & Tears, the Statler Brothers, and other bands during high school. He also released a record with a band called 'Hot Lanta' in 1974. During his acting career, Thornton released four solo albums from 2001 to 2007.
Thornton brought in sound engineer J. D. Andrew to help with his 2007 album Beautiful Door. After jamming together, they started to record some of their material. Andrew had known Mike Butler "for six or seven years" and called on him to play guitar for them. According to Andrew, after the trio played together, they said "Shoot, this sounds like a band." The three came up with the name "Boxmasters" after a piece of Southern slang, which they later described by saying "remember the bad boy in high school who got all the girls and left a trail of broken hearts ... and more?" Thornton had also briefly played in country star Porter Wagoner's similarly titled band 'The Wagonmasters', which he later said had brought chills down his spine.
The band started in Bellflower, California in 2007. During its early days, the band played several live shows in the California area, as well as in Tecate, Mexico. Their eponymous first album The Boxmasters was released on June 10, 2008 by Vanguard Records. It received a mostly poor review from Allmusic, which stated that "The Boxmasters might work live because there will be visuals; but merely as a listening exercise, it's best taken in small doses so the novelty doesn't wear off." The review also alleged that "Thornton can't drum to save his life, and he can't sing".The Washington Post praised the album, and the paper remarked that listeners will get their money's worth if they enjoy the music even half as much as the band did during the recordings.
The group resumed touring in July 2008, adding musicians Bradley Davis on mandolin, guitar, and vocals, Teddy Andreadis on harmonica and organ, and Mike Bruce on drums. Their tour across the United States ended on September 7, 2008 when they played at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. The band released their second album, Christmas Cheer, on November 11, 2008, also through Vanguard Records. Allmusic gave another critical review, calling the music "an acquired taste".USA Today music critic Brian Mansfield named it one of his favorite holiday albums. The Boxmasters went on a post-album 12-city tour with Willie Nelson, playing from November 22 in Enid, Oklahoma to December 6 in Champaign, Illinois. They then embarked on a six-city tour of Texas in March 2009, which included a March 18 appearance at the South by Southwest music conference.
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