Bill Rousseau and Dahlia Gallin Ramirez have been kicking around the SF music scene since 2004 when they played with The Monolith. Fast forward eight years and replace synths and effects with a guitar, a piano and a heck of a lot of lovely harmonies and you have Billy & Dolly, pop sensations.
Bill Rousseau and Dahlia Gallin Ramirez made a conscious choice to revisit the songs of their youth for inspiration in Billy & Dolly, and this is apparent on hearing their music. Hints of The Byrds, The Hollies, and early Stones are evident, though they cite Donovan, Simon and Garfunkel and Dolly Parton. What is clear is their handle on arrangement and harmony and their use of slightly off-kilter timing and key to add a signature flavor to what could be a straightforward hook. A perfect example is the lead piano line in the video posted below – “Oh Yeah” – it adds darkness and discomfort to a standard melody and leaves you feeling like you are falling down a flight of stairs you didn’t even realize were there in the first place. Veeeery sneaky, stairs. Veeeery sneaky, Billy & Dolly.
After releasing their first album – In The Beginning – in 2009 the band went through the standard routine playing shows, building up their chops, experimenting with adding drums and bass vs. performing as a duo, and ended up opening for Dr. Dog and The Apples in Stereo. For their next release they decided to team up with producer/musician Jason Quever (Papercuts) and ended up with Dally Bon Idyll, an album that takes the intimacies of their songwriting and the catchiness of their hooks to the next level. They have gained a real sense of confidence with the time spent discovering and uncovering their sound and this is especially apparent on “Gold“, their first single from Dally Bon Idyll. Billy & Dolly take us down a familiar path but add a few eerie elements of their own along the way to remind us that beyond the sunshine lies the darkness, but beyond the darkness lies everything.
Billy & Dolly play their record release at The Rickshaw Stop Wednesday, July 11. Doors are at 8pm, tickets are $10 and The 21st Century and Morgan Manifacier provide support. Dally Bon Idyll is out now and available through their website: www.billyanddolly.com