Artist of the day: Soul Circus Cowboys
In the tradition of larger-than-life country characters like Big & Rich and the LoCash Cowboys come the Soul Circus Cowboys. Singer-guitarist Billy McKnight of Brandon and guitarist Terry Cole have a sound that blends country with dirty rock 'n' roll to produce a wild, raucous boot-scootin' sound.
But if the name "Billy McKnight" sounds familiar to you, it might be for reasons that have nothing to do with his music.
McKnight is a former boyfriend of Mindy McCready, the troubled country star whose battles with drugs and alcohol are widely known. In 2005, McKnight was arrested and charged with attempted murder after police said he physically abused McCready in Nashville. (He later pleaded guilty to domsetic assault and was sentenced to a short jail stint.)
Later that summer, McKnight was present when McCready took a near-lethal combination of drugs and alcohol at an Indian Rocks Beach hotel, in what police classified as a suicide attempt.
Lately, as McCready has found a regular TV platform on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, McKnight has spoken out to combat some of the problems that have dogged him in the past.
“As with most relationships, mistakes were made on both of our parts, which I'm sure neither of us are proud of and which we have already paid greatly for," McKnight said in a statement on his official Web site. "All I can say is ... that was then and this is now. My primary focus is to be a good father for my children. I have taken the high road and stayed strong and healthy for them and for my music career."
This week, you can check out Soul Circus Cowboys at Fubars, 6501 U.S. 301 in Riverview (not Fubar in St. Petersburg). They're playing free shows there on Friday and Saturday. They also play regular gigs at Miss Kitty's in Brooksville.
The group is also holding a song contest, in which the winner can have their song recorded in Nashville. To enter, submit a song via mp3 or wav to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line "Soul Circus Cowboy Contest." Send the lyrics, too. The deadline to enter is midnight on May 28.
Check out the group's swaggering single Love's Like A Rodeo below.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*