“If You See Someone Without a Smile, Give Them One of Yours”

music musings, beaverdamusa.comIf you have been around Nashville at any time over the last couple of weeks, you have probably heard or read that phrase.  It is attributable to Mr. Billy Block.  Billy passed away on March 11 after a very brave and public fight against cancer and most news stories referenced his famous line.  There was even a calling for folks on social media to post pictures of themselves smiling with friends and add the hashtags #billyblock and #smiles4billy.

If you have been in Nashville over the last few years, you have heard of Billy unless your address was 100 Boulder Lane; and you lived in the basement.  From his Western Beat shows at various locales (where he promised a $6 show for just $5), his Locals Only radio show (where he played unsigned artists), Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang (at Puckett’s Boathouse) or his hosting the Silver Stars talent show (think AARP Idol), he was everywhere.  I was chatting with someone in the promotion side of the music business and they described Billy as one “who always had something going.”  You can read the various summaries of his music career elsewhere, but in short, he was a drummer who played all across the country and moved to Nashville where he pushed the Americana style of music here.

I first met Billy through a mutual friend as we were working on a golf tournament for JDRF locally.  Billy would also serve as emcee at our award dinners.  He would show up in his tux and give us that big smile.  I would always see him through the years at JDRF events.  Billy didn’t have a direct connection to JDRF, but his connection was through our mutual friend.  Every time you would see Billy, he would smile, shake your hand, and make your feel like you were his long lost friend who he hadn’t seen in years.

As I mentioned before, he fought a very brave and public fight against cancer.  He always closed his Facebook updates with the phrase “All Faith, No Fear”.  Whether you are fighting cancer or not, those are great words to live by.  I saw Billy several months ago at a music recital where my youngest son was playing.  Billy’s boys’ took lessons at the same store and he and his wife, Jill, were there as well.  After the line to see him shortened up, I went up and chatted with him.  He still had that smile though you could tell he had been in the fight of (or is it “for”) his life.  Even though I hadn’t seen him in a few years, he smiled, called me by name, and asked how I was doing.  That was just the way Billy was.

Billy’s had a celebration of life service last night (03/24/2015) at the Ryman.  Where else would it be?  It appeared to be a great night of music, reminiscing, and, yes, celebrating Billy’s life.  I saw someone post that Billy did beat cancer – he claimed the life eternal, where there is no cancer.  Godspeed Billy Block, Nashville’s lights are a little dimmer, but heaven’s is a bit brighter.


About Zach Clayton

Zach Clayton started Music Musings in 2013, but isn’t a stranger to music. While he may be a mild mannered accountant by day, he always has tunes going and forces his staff at work to play music trivia when they enter his office. He is a self-proclaimed lover of all music genres with over 3,500 songs in his iPod. Zach’s first concert was Eddie Money in Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym in 1979 and claims to have seen Van Halen (all three incarnations) over 25 times. There have only been one or two years since 1979 that Zach hasn’t been to a concert. He also has the uncanny knack of getting to know several folks in the music scene – both out front and behind the scenes. Zach is in the process of indoctrinating his two boys into the rock and roll way by exposing them to concerts and various music while holding them hostage in his truck screaming the mantra – “rap is crap!”

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