Artist Name: Dillbilly
Location: Oakland CA, USA
Origin: Evansville, IN, USA
Genre: genre-queer country
Years Active: 1998 - Present
Label: Waxsimile Productions
Dillbilly (pronouns: they/them) is a genre-queer songbird from the rural Midwest who's sound migrates across folk, Americana, roots, alt-country, and rock influences. Their soaring vocals and metaphorical lyrics tell complex and vulnerable stories that find a way of weaving midwestern charm, animal behavior, country living, weather patterns, farming, working class humor, grief, plant ecology, queerness, white fragility, and birds.....so many birds.... into nest-like songs that make a home for what your heart has always longed to hear. The vehicle of their songs change like seasons from piano and guitar to ukulele and banjo performing both solo and with a 4 piece band. Currently, Dillbilly has made a home in Oakland, CA where they have teamed up with renowned musician and producer Julie Wolf, of Julie Wolf Music, to create their 10th full length record which will be released in 2019.
Raised in a rural trailer park near the Ohio River, Dill grew up surrounded by cornfields, grain silos spending most of their time going jug fishing and playing classical piano. At 18, they won a piano scholarship that sent them to Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Over the past 20+ years, they have been performing and touring across the U.S. and Canada releasing 9 full length albums as well as contributions to soundtracks for movies and TV under their birth name, Denise Dill. Most of those releases were self recorded and produced. Since moving to the Bay Area in 2015, they renamed their musical self and chose a name that more accurately embodies where they come from, where they draw inspiration, who they collaborate with, and how they identify as a genderqueer person.
Whether the vehicle of the song is guitar, uke, banjo, sax, or piano, Dill’s songwriting is “[…] so strong you can taste it. It is sweet, spicy, savory, organic, homegrown, lots of twists, sometimes complex, sometimes so simple, and oh so very delicious! Their albums makes you want to sit in a rocking chair on a front porch in the fall while eating peach salsa, or wander out deep in the woods without knowing were you’ll end up,” says artist and friend Margaret Belton of San Franscisco, CA.
Branching into filmscoring, Dillbilly has composed for two full length films from Roundpoint Movies videomaker, Craig Saddlemire as well as one TV series. Neighbor by Neighbor: Mobilizing an Invisible Community in Lewiston, ME (2009) features a theme song written by Dill. Household: Four Stories of Kinship and Community (2013) features an original soundtrack to the full length documentary. Finally, My So-called Housing Cooperative (2013), a web TV series features a theme song written by Dill.
Dill’s last full length solo release, Heavy Joi, is ”a sparkling work of thought and labor," says music critic Elijah Tru. "Heavy JOI is evidence of Dill’s growth as an artist showcasing a complete and mature batch of thirteen songs that gives this album both weight and levity, as the album title implies. Dill’s lyrics and instrumentation are meaningful and complex. Each component is about substance not style. They broach difficult and complicated emotional issues that adults experience but are rarely able to articulate in such a beautiful way".
"I’ve had both the pleasure of being a fan and honor of performing with Dill Billy over the past few years. Their music is honest, heartfelt and real soul music. Going to a concert is a spiritual experience and whatever ails you is going to just float away." ~ Anita Lofton, of Anita Lofton Project
"Dillbilly's songs are simple compositions of looping synths, guitar, and drum machines, led by a resounding, courageous voice. They are no stranger to heavy themes — desire, gender, and departure figure prominently in their records —but Dill’s emotional stakes always seem way high without ever feeling ingratiating." ~ Portland Pheonix
"Dillbilly, is a songbird with a hypnotizing voice and an apparent knowledge of multiple instruments: guitar, uke, piano, sax to name a few. Their songs stream consciousness away from the present to another, peaceful yet contemplative place. With a nearly southern folk feel, Dill's music makes you want to lay in an open field and ponder life, the good and the bad. Their alto voice and sighing metaphorical lyrics dance above her tracks that scream, “peaceful journey.” ~ Shutter 16 Magazine
"Whether the vehicle of the song is guitar, uke, banjo, sax, or piano, Dill’s songwriting is “[…] so strong you can taste it. It is sweet, spicy, savory, organic, homegrown, lots of twists, sometimes complex, sometimes so simple, and oh so very delicious! Their albums makes you want to sit in a rocking chair on a front porch in the fall while eating peach salsa, or wander out deep in the woods without knowing were you’ll end up” ~ Margaret Belton, actor/singer/artist
"Dillbilly's lyrics and instrumentation are meaningful and complex. Each component is about substance not style. They broach difficult and complicated emotional issues that adults experience but are rarely able to articulate in such a beautiful way." ~ Elijah True, music enthusiast