Friday, March 25, 2016

Charge Like a Marine

A lot of crap rolls around in this life of ours and a good snort of a good bourbon can only take you so far .  Quite frankly, if you start relying upon that good snort to get you through you may need to talk to old Billy Hill because a good snort of bourbon is to be enjoyed and appreciated, not clung to as a crutch to help numb your pain or sorrow.  When you start doing that you start getting into dangerous territory.  But Billy Hill digresses . . . .

Sometimes when things pile up you just need to hunker down, put your nose to the grind stone and just get it done one step at a time.  A good friend, yes my father-in-law, had a story that goes like this:

A young child had a project assigned for school.  The child was to go through a wide variety of birds, draw a picture of each bird and write a short description about the bird.  The child procrastinated and procrastinated until the evening of the last day before the project was due.  And sitting at the kitchen table, the child was in tears and overwhelmed by the insurmountable task that was before the child.  When asked what was wrong, the child replied "I just can't do it, there is too much, too many birds, I can't do it".  The child's parent said "yes you can, you just have to sit there and do one bird at a time".
Cause sometimes this life gets overwhelming.  Sometimes it seams you have no way out.  Sometimes you feel like you are alone on the beach frozen in your tracks as you watch a tsunami coming to engulf you.  Sometimes you get so gripped with fear that you just want to curl up on a ball and hide.  I am sure that our friends in Belgium felt that way recently.

But Billy Hill wants to encourage you, especially here in this Easter season.  There ain't nothing in this world worth giving up for.  And I mean nothing.  No hurt, no sorrow, no sickness, no loss.  I mean, if you are a Bible believing person, the story is already written for you as far as this world is concerned, it is ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  You come in the same way you go out, naked and empty handed.  M. Ward has a great line in his song Blake's view:

Birth is just a chorus, death is just a verse
In the great song of spring that the mockingbirds sing
We come and we go, a-weeping and a-wailing
Our heads in the hands of the nurse

So the worse thing this world can do to you is take your life but, again, if you are a Bible believing type of person, then as Paul said, to live is Christ but to die is gain.

But the one thing we don't do is we never give up.  Our life is not something we give, it is something that has to be taken.  You are irreplaceable.  No one can fill the hole that you leave behind.  You may think you are alone, unloved and unwanted but that is a bullshit lie.  If you are surrounded by people that don't show you love and appreciation, get away from them and find the folks that do love you and appreciate you and hang out with them.  People often ask Billy Hill why he always carries a gun.  His reply is simple "I am not going to be found curled up in a ball in a movie theater or church or anywhere else while some crazy ass lunatic or radical Islamic moron guns everyone down, no, if I am going to go out it will be while charging such a moron and sticking the barrel of my gun in his or her gut and pulling the trigger until it goes click click click"

And that is how we need to live our life friends.  Yes, some times you need to hunker down and just "do one bird at a time" but at other times, when the enemy is closing in around you, when you feel dark, surrounded and destruction seems inevitable, you just need to jump out of that fox hole, raise your gun in the air and start shooting everything as you run full speed at the enemy and screaming at the top of your lungs "not me, not today and not now damnit!!"  Yes, sometimes you just need to charge like a marine.  And that my friend, makes you a bad-ass.

Billy Hill here, I like it neat

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Billy Hill Goes Theatrical

Some days, some seasons, some lives just suck.  But  hopefully you have hope.  Billy Hill has a friend, one of those damn good friends, stick by your side friends, call him at 3:00am friends, not get mad when you are way way late for breakfast friends and always always has your back kind of friends.  And on top of it, Billy Hill's friend is a bad-ass himself, probably the baddest bad-ass Billy Hill has ever met but Billy Hill can't give him the Billy Hill Badassery award because he is such a bad-ass well, enough said.  

But this guy is not just a friend to Billy Hill, not just like a brother, but he is also a hero of Billy Hill.  Not like a Marvel Super Hero, just a plain old ordinary unsung hero.  

Well, Billy Hill's buddy got like the triple crown and crap just landing on his head this week.  Billy wished he could fix it for his friend but all Billy Hill can do is hunker down and walk through it with him.  But, Billy Hill has been having some rough days himself and was feeling all, as Mega Mind would say, mel-LAWN-collie.  And so he waxed a little poetic and bastardized a classic broadway show tune for his own amusement and maybe for the amusement of his buddy.  

Hang tough friend of Billy Hill, I can't walk it for you but I sure as hell can walk it with you.  

These are a Few of my Least Favorite Things

Raindrops on weekends and all indoor kittens
Copper's lights flashing and liberal sit-ins
All gifts that come to me laden with strings
These are a few of my least favorite things

Mork from Ork dying, and Cokey my good friend
Families crumbling, and tears that have no end
Saying goodbye to my kids Tuesday morn
These are a few of the things I abhor.

People around when you want to be alone
No one around when your lonely and forlorn
Friendships vanishing, then feeling the sting
This kind of crap makes me throw heavy things

Cause it just bites, when your sinking
and you think life blows
And each day you add on to your least favorite things
But at least there are musical theater shows.  

Yes, Billy Hill thinks there is nothing like a good grape vine and jazz step along with 4 part harmony to help get through the dark days.  

Billy Hill here, I like it neat

Friday, March 18, 2016

Bourbon Review: Old Grand-Dad 114

Billy Hill and a buddy stopped by this place on the way home from a business meeting this week:

And had the great pleasure of meeting Bill Carter, who was clearly very up to speed on this Bourbanability.  Learned a ton hanging out with the guy as we shopped their very well rounded Bourbon section.  

I walked out with a bottle of Old Grand-Dad 114 (mainly because they did not have any Old Grand-Dad Bottoms or W.L. Weller Antique.  

But I cracked it open last night and was quite pleased.  Now, as I have said, I am not much of a fruity, nutty, woody type Bourbon analyzer.  I actually like fruit and nuts and don't really eat much wood and so, those nuances mean little to me.  Although, maybe some day I will get back to Eastern Kentucky and take a class or two from a friend @ThatBourbonGal (on twitter) and you should follow her if you want a good Bourbon eduction.  But for now, Billy Hill just classifies them as being in one of three categories (a) hot, (b) smooth (c) mix it with something like making a Kentucky Mule.  

The Old Grand-Dad 114 certainly falls into the hot category, and I rank it in there with a Bookers but, it is certainly a great joy at half the price of a bottle of Bookers, but you don't get the free wooden box.  As ThatBourbonGal taught me, you don't always have to reach for the top shelf to find good bourbon, and she was right.  I am looking forward to some more recommendations from her in the near future and I will certainly pass them on.  

But what I enjoyed most about our trip to the World Beverage store was learning about dusty hunting.  I have never heard of the term before but Bill Carter is an avid fan, plus it gives him the chance to ride around on his Harley.  What is dusty hunting? It is finding old, hole in the wall liquor stores, getting to know the owners and develop a report with them, and then getting invited down to the basement to tour the old dusty bottles that have been sitting around for years and basically forgotten about.  The more I explore this whole bourbon world, the more fascinated I am about how much there is to learn.  I guess I am going to have to make another entry in the Why Billy Hill loves Kentucky series and listing them as the pioneers for creating the whole world that is so fun to explore.  

But in the mean time, if you want a good hot bourbon that is quite nice taking in neat, reach down a shelf or two and grab yourself a bottle of Old Grand-Dad 114.  It is obviously 114 proof and distilled by the Old Grand-Dad Distillery Company in Frankfort-Clermont, KY.  I got mine for $28.  

Some interesting information I got from the OldWhiskeys website.  

"Old Grand-Dad was a real person. He was a distiller named Basil Hayden who made his name by distilling a bourbon whiskey made with a higher percentage of rye. Basil Hayden passed along the art of distilling to his son Thyme (Just pulling your leg. We don’t know his name) and then, in turn, to his grandson. It was the third generation distiller, Colonel R.B. Hayden, who honored his grandfather by naming his justly famed whiskey “Old Grand-Dad®.”  During Prohibition, Old Grand-Dad® was produced by a pharmaceutical company, the American Medicinal Sprits Co., and was one of the few distilled spirits permitted to be prescribed as medicine. It was a popular time to be sick."

Thanks for reading, this is Billy Hill here, and I like it neat.  

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Billy Hill Badassery Award 3 - Nickie Black

Nickie Black gets a double Billy Hill Badassery Award.  Nickie is a huntress for hobby but not just your ordinary huntress, more of an exotic game huntress.  Her hobby lead her to a South African safari where her hobby inspired a great business opportunity.  She learned that two of her kills on that safari, a spring buck and a blesbok were only going to be used for the meat and shoulder mounts. Realizing that the skins were going to be tossed, she asked the guide to save the back skins and she would put them to use.  Well, she launch a new business Atriarch Leather.  She found a source for the exotic back skins and also began to gather up the poisonous snakes around her home county and harvesting those skins as well.  She is on the call list for folks in the county when a snake gets kilt, she is called to come get it and harvest the skin.  She has launched several high-end products through this business and they are pretty awesome.  Check out her website by clicking on the above-provided link.  She has recently launched an awesome product for the golfing man as well.

And so, for a guy that won't get much closer to a snake than a good Taurus Judge long barrel loaded with 410 shell shot away, harvesting snakes is considered worthy of badassery.  And then, turning your hobby into an great business opportunity gets Nickie the double badassary award.  And in case your wondering what in the world is a blesbok . . . . it is the one on the right, the one on the left is the Billy Hill Badassery Award recipient that the blesboks fear.

Billy Hill here, I like it neat.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Billy Hill Badassery Award 2 - Steve Hellums

Steve Hellums is a long-time friend of Billy Hill, heck all the way back to third grade.  Billy Hill has always been a fan of Steve Hellums and appreciated his absolute, unconditioned friendship.  Well recently, Steve has entered into the Billy Hill Badassery Hall of Fame as depicted in the picture below.  Some may say, yes, big deal, the guy killed a bear.  But on closer look, you will see that Steve is holding a bow, cause the fact is, he killed a bear WITH AN ARROW.  Now, I am talking a piece of wood about as thick as a pencil but a little bit longer.  And while many have killed many with a pencil, it generally does not happen face to face with no where to run but to the location of your death if you happen to miss.

Well, Billy Hill wanted to get permission from his friend prior to posting this award announcement.  When asked, Steve graciously said "Sure man, but it doesn't take a badass to kill a bear".  Well, Billy Hill says that only a badass would say such a crazy thing.

Billy Hill here, I like it neat.

Billy Hill Badassery Award 1 - Raylan Givens

This is a new series of posts by Billy Hill to basically recognize people, or incidences, or scenes from shows or other activities that just clearly demonstrate of moment of being a bad-ass-mofo.

The first award goes to Raylan Givens in this scene from the series Justified.  Clearly, the whole show and the Raylan Givens character (which is loosely based on Billy Hill's life) is filled with such moments but this one is certainly one that is deserving of such an award.

If you have any candidates that you believe should be considered for the Billy Hill Badassery Award, please leave a comment and Billy Hill will review and take under advisement.

Billy Hill here, I like it neat

Bourbon Review - 2016 Release Dates

Not a lot to say in this post but too much for a tweet.  This is a great website for planning your bourbon budget for the year, getting your name in on the lists at you local stores and maybe even for making plans to visit a distillery.

Just a side note that may help you out.  As in most aspects of life, sometimes you have to work the crowd to get what you want.  And that certainly comes in to play with getting  some quality bourbon.  Most liquor stores will include a list that you can put your name on along with what you are wanting to get.  But, for scarce products, which is a list that is growing, you may need to schmoozing up to the manager or owner of your local distributors.  A few suggestions you may want to consider:

(1) Don't spread the wealth.  If you have a distributor that is on top of his game and can get the products that are in high demand, make that your store and spend all you money there.  They will give preferred treatment to those that spend the most.

(2) Frequently visit your local distributor.  Make an effort to be in the store at least once a week.  Even if you have to purchase soft drinks at a higher price.

(3) Get to know your distributor.  Find out who is in charge, the manager, the owner, etc., learn their name and try to learn their schedule so that you get the most bang for your buck when you frequent the store.  Make sure you call them out by name and if they do not do the same, make sure you remind them of your name.  You want that person to become to see you as not only a great customer but also a great friend.

(4) If you can, get some party business to the distributor.  A few years back I made a substantial purchase for a holiday party.  The owner/manager of the store remembers that still today, I got a ton of good will for it and I have a bottle of Old Rip Van Winkle sitting on my bar as evidence thereof.

So, check out this website and enjoy my bourbon brother.

Billy Hill here, I like it neat

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Bourbon Review: Booker's

Where do you start with Booker's?  This may have been the catalyst that drew Billy Hill into this whole world of Kentucky bourbon.  Maybe it lit a fire in his soul, or maybe it just drew out his Kentucky roots but, here we go . . . .

Billy Hill lives in a small college town with quite an ample supply of Beverage-Alcohol Retail Stores (BARS).  Billy Hill was going through some hard times a while back and a good buddy stopped by to visit.  They walked down the road to a local bar and ordered up a Guinness on tap.  The next round they decided to hit a bourbon.  Billy Hill ha been dabbling in it a bit and so, they gave it a shot.  The bar tender asked if she could make a recommendation and we said "sure".  She pulled out a 7 year Booker's and poured what Billy Hill felt was quite a stingy pour.  He raised it to his lips and as the snort rolled down the back of his tongue and into his belly, Billy Hill knew he had just fallen in love.  The two guys visited for a little while longer and then walked across the street to the local liquor store and the each walked out with a box of a bottle of Booker's under their arms and a $65 lighter wallet.

Booker's is a bit of a unique and rarity.  The founder of this jewel, Booker Noe was a sixth-generation master distiller who grew up at a distillery in the heart of Kentucky. He was born to bourbon. While others rejoiced to drink bourbon at age 21, Booker was thrilled to start making the stuff.
In 1992, Booker introduced the world to small batch bourbon. He actually coined the term “small batch.” With it came his own signature bourbon, Booker's® True Barrel Bourbon. Inspired by a 200-year-old tradition, Booker's® is bottled uncut and unfiltered.  You can find the batches ranging from about 124-128 Proof.  And yes it is hot, but at the same time quite smooth.

You can read about the current batch and the upcoming batches by clicking on the picture above.

Interestingly, Booker's is presently distilled and bottled by James B Beam.  And even more interesting is that their new spokes person at James B Beam is none other than Mila Kunis.  And why does that matter?  Well Billy Hill has a soft spot for Ms. Mila Kunis.  Traveling through the LA airport one evening on his way home from trying to strike a deal with EBAY, Billy Hill was pulled out of the security line for extra screening and was told to lean against the wall until an agent was ready for him.  Moments later a few other people joined Billy Hill on this wall.  Being the social butterfly that he is, Billy Hill turned to talk to the young fellow next to him and low and behold, it turned out to be Macaulay Culkin.  Well, this was during the whole Michael Jackson shake up thing so Billy Hill took care to keep his mouth shut but as he looked past Macaulay, there leaning against the wall was the absolutely beautiful Mila Kunis.  Billy Hill didn't have anything prepared for this moment and all he had was some EBAY pajamas he had purchased at the EBAY for his young offspring number 2.  Well, Mila did autograph them for old Billy Hill.  And now, she is the spokesperson for old James B. Beam.

But back to Booker's, grab you a bottle of it, if you can get something from Batch No 2013-6, it is Billy Hill's favorite but, he has enjoyed is 2015-2 batch as well.

Billy Hill here, I like it neat

Why Billy Hill Loves Kentucky: Reasons 1-6 - Justified

Billy Hill was "sitting 'round drink'n with the rest of the guys, 6 rounds bought, Billy bought 5, Billy Hill had spent the groceries and half the rent" when someone mentions something about Justified season 7 coming out.  It was an EF Hutton moment.  Billy Hill just 'bout pee'd himself with excitement.  But it turns out, they were a-lyin.  Ain't no such thing happening and it ain't right to be talk'n outa school like whoever that was that said it.  Course, Billy Hill is more of a bruiser than a browser so maybe there is something on the internet-thingy that would confirm this rumor as true but Billy Hill ain't found it.

Anyway, Justified was the definition of crime shows in which Timothy Olyphant portrays Raylan Givens who is loosely based on the live of Billy Hill.  Raylan Givens is a tough (just like Billy Hill) U.S. Marshal (Billy Hill just forgot to mail in his application or he woulda been one) enforcing his own brand of justice (yep) in his hometown of Harlan Kentucky (well it is a bit east of Paducah but they had to change some things).

If you have never watched the show, you can catch in on NetFlix, all 6 seasons.  I think that the series probably did more for boosting the bourbon industry in Kentucky than any other single event, well other than ending prohibition.  And so, Justified, Timothy Olyphant and Walter Goggins (Boyd Crowder) is Billy Hill's first 6 reasons for for loving Kentucky - one for each season.  It would be nice to be reasons 1-7 but alas FX, what is your deal?

Billy Hill here, I like it neat

Woodford Reserve Releases in June 2016

Something to watch for because it sounds interesting.  Woodford Reserve distillery has two releases coming out in June of this year.  One is a Toasted Oak Rye which is a rye finished in new heavily toasted barrels at 86.4 proof.  But the more interesting one is the Master's Duet which is also a rye but it is finished in used Pinot Noir barrels, again at 86.4 proof.  Both should be fairly mild but looking forward to the nuances of the Master's Duet.  The only bummer is that they are gift shop releases and so, a trip to Versaille KY is required.  However, they may ship if you order over the telephone.  Woodford Reserve Distillery

Billy Hill here, I like it neat

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Is it time to play the Trump card?

The DNC obviously hates him, the RNC ridicules him, bashes him, calls him names, the media mocks him, they call him a liar, immoral, greedy and power hungry, and in a mixed crowd, not often will you see someone step up and say "yes, he is my man" - - - - yet, a whole hell of a lot of SOMEONES are voting for the man.  So, what gives?

Not to raise that "conspiracy theory" banner because that is too easy for the "politically correct" crowd to circle the holy ones and hurl their rocks of self indignation and shame upon you.  But what the hell, if you don't think that every political group (including the DNC and RNC) that has been sucking off of the taxpayer teats since the Gipper vacated Casa Blanca is frantically meeting, plotting, pooling and conspiring to bring this man down, then tell me where you bought that shit your smoking cause it has to be some good shit.

But here is the deal, and yes, Billy Hill is going to make a statement, you may love it or you may hate it but he does not really care.  Billy Hill is fed up with the politically correct world that has made men act like women and has made women smell like men, that has made it fine to mock Christians and rednecks but you say anything about any other color or religion and you are flogged, cast out and castrated.  But Billy Hill digresses . . . .

There is no way in the world that Barry would have made it into a second term if the lower middle class and poor people of this country had not already been enslaved to the big government of SNAP and Obama phones.  It has been a systematic program of importing, opening the borders, welcoming the refugees and raising the dead to create a voting force that could actually vote Barry into Office for a second term.  Because on the merits, there is no reason why he should have been voted in again based on his own track record.

So, this voting force has only become more powerful over the last 4 years and they are being geared up to usher in the next Clinton wave and Billy Hill's thoughts are that there is not a single person on the republican debate platforms that could actually defeat Clinton in a "fair" election.  Billy Hill uses the term "fair" loosely because after the whole "hanging chad" deception to justify hoodwinking the American public into embracing an "electronic voting system that has no chads", as well as no way to actually verify that a zero actually got flipped to a one ....  but that is besides the point . . .

No one on the republican platform can defeat Clinton except for one guy, a guy, who in the face of the bashing, the shaming, the playing of that whole "you can't like him it is not politically correct" card that is being energetically shoved out by the DNC the RNC and the liberal media and some of the conservative media as well as a slew of churches and pastors and former people that tried to run for president but lost multiple times including in their very own state, IN THE FACE of ALL THAT, he is STILL winning in the poles!!!!

Who is it that is voting for this moron, this immoral egotistical short fingered buffoon that constantly lies and would be a huge embarrassment to our country and he is degrading to women?   Remember Michelle Obama saying that for the first time in her life she was proud of this country - because her husband was elected.  You remember the tour of apologies by Barry? You remember the snarling Clinton got from "that woman"?  Remember how Billy threw young Monica under the bus and destroyed her life rather than manning up and saying "yes, I did it" (degrading of women?)?  Remember all the times the teleprompter went down and Barry stumbled around like Biff?  Remember that were still going to keep our health insurance?  You really want to call names?  Really?  And then the Christians are quick to throw this man under the bus as well because he does not say second Corinthians, and may appear to be more of a "guy that goes to church" rather than a hardcore evangelical.  But again, are we electing a pope or a guy that can run the country.  And again, no one seemed that worried about Barry's lack of evangelical dogma.  Is it not better that the elected official have little to no religious influence over the country, seems like a good idea.  And as for moral character, seems like a guy that has it all laid out on the table is much better than a guy that we know nothing about maybe?

Is he perfectly polished, no.  Is he thin skinned. probably.  Does he have an ego - duh.  Does he have skeletons in the closet - nope they are pretty much all out there, birth certificate, college grades and all.  Is he a moron, don't count on it, look what he has done in the face of such opposition.  Could he totally destroy this country?  Well, as hard as Barry tried, and believe me he has and is still trying, he couldn't do it.  But could he actually endear the hearts of this nation, could he rally the people around him to make great things happen in this country, could he restore pride in a country that now holds its head in shame in the international market?  I think that if he does the right thing, if he makes the right decisions, if he truly focuses on loving America, he could be as loved as Ronald Reagan.  Or, he could try to screw everyone over and use us all to build bigger and better hotels, resorts and reality TV shows.  What do you think his true motives are?

And most of all, CAN HE WIN?  If he wins sufficient delegates is the RNC going to circle the wagons and broker the convention?  Maybe what he ought to do, which would be the classic Trump move, is to start his very own party.  The Trump Party.

Look, the game is almost over, the cards are stacked against us, do you think it may be time to throw that Trump card?  A heck of a lot of people are saying yes, can you ignore that?  Who are you, cause I don't see Trump signs in your yards, bumper stickers on your cars, or hats on your heads.  But, it does give one pause for thoughts.  And I could think of no better way to start a Trump presidency then having him turn to Barry on the inauguration platform, point his finger in his face and say "Barry, your fired!".

Friday, March 4, 2016

Why Billy Hill Loves Kentucky: Reasons 74 and 87

Billy Hill started this thread on his FaceBook page BILLY HILL HERE and realized that some folk may not actually know about it and so, he is moving the thread over here.  

Yes, Billy Hill was actually born in Kentucky, McCracken County to be exact, right there at the confluence of the Tennessee and the Ohio Rivers. Billy Hill is proud of his heritage and loves his State - but he is a Hill Topper fan, not a Wildcat. Why does Billy Hill love Kentucky so much, other than the obvious birthing home of bourbon, well for many reasons. Here are a couple:

Reason 74 - The Big Lebowski Fest

The Big Lebowski Fest has been running for more than a decade.  The Lebowski Fest in Louisville is as glorious as one might imagine. Featuring a screening of “The Big Lebowski”, bowling party, live music, and tons of costumed participants, it’s a must-do for any Big Lebowski fan. That head at the far back may or may not be Billy Hill.

Reason 87 - Bluegrass

Billy Hill was a bit off the beaten trail when he was a kid, listening to Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt rather than Santana and Ted Nugent.  But there was something about that music that drew him in.  The bluegrass genre is said to have been birthed by Bill Monroe, an American mandolinistsinger, and songwriter. The genre takes its name from his band, the Blue Grass Boys, named for Monroe's home state of Kentucky. Monroe's performing career spanned 69 years as a singer, instrumentalist, composer and bandleader. He is often referred to as the Father of Bluegrass.
There is more information on this history of bluegrass below but you probably won't be interested in it unless you take a gander and listen to some of today's bluegrass.  

Billy Hill was recently turned on to Mipso by a zinger of a friend:
Then obviously there is the Old Crow Medicine Show

And one of Billy Hill's favorites The Packway Handle Band
 Packway Handle Band - Gets Me Everytime

But you still can't ignore Scruggs and Flatt
And if you want to know more, read this and just google Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, and bluegrass origins. 
A key development occurred in Monroe's music with the addition of North Carolina banjo prodigy Earl Scruggs to the Blue Grass Boys in December 1945. Scruggs played the instrument with a distinctive three-finger picking style that immediately caused a sensation among Opry audiences. Scruggs joined a highly accomplished group that included singer/guitarist Lester Flatt, and would soon include fiddler Chubby Wise, and bassist Howard Watts, who often performed under the name "Cedric Rainwater". In retrospect, this lineup of the Blue Grass Boys has been dubbed the "Original Bluegrass Band", as Monroe's music finally included all the elements that characterize the genre, including breakneck tempos, sophisticated vocal harmony arrangements, and impressive instrumental proficiency demonstrated in solos or "breaks" on the mandolin, banjo, and fiddle. By this point, Monroe had acquired the 1923 Gibson F5 model "Lloyd Loar" mandolin which became his trademark instrument for the remainder of his career.[6]
The 28 songs recorded by this version of the Blue Grass Boys for Columbia Records in 1946 and 1947 soon became classics of the genre, including "Toy Heart", "Blue Grass Breakdown", "Molly and Tenbrooks", "Wicked Path of Sin", "My Rose of Old Kentucky", "Little Cabin Home on the Hill", and Monroe's most famous song "Blue Moon of Kentucky". The last-named was recorded by Elvis Presley in 1954, appearing as the B-side of his first single for Sun Records. Monroe gave his blessing to Presley's rock-and-roll cover of the song, originally a slow ballad in waltz time, and in fact re-recorded it himself with a faster arrangement after Presley's version became a hit. Several gospel-themed numbers are credited to the "Blue Grass Quartet", which featured four-part vocal arrangements accompanied solely by mandolin and guitar – Monroe's usual practice when performing "sacred" songs.
Both Flatt and Scruggs left Monroe's band in early 1948, soon forming their own group, the Foggy Mountain Boys. In 1949, after signing with Decca Records, Monroe entered what has been called the "golden age" of his career[7] with what many consider the classic "high lonesome" version of the Blue Grass Boys, featuring the lead vocals and rhythm guitar of Jimmy Martin, the banjo of Rudy Lyle (replacing Don Reno), and fiddlers such as Merle "Red" Taylor, Charlie ClineBobby Hicks and Vassar Clements. This band recorded a number of bluegrass classics, including "My Little Georgia Rose", "On and On", "Memories of Mother and Dad", and "Uncle Pen", as well as instrumentals such as "Roanoke", "Big Mon", "Stoney Lonesome", "Get Up John", and the mandolin feature "Raw Hide." Carter Stanley joined the Blue Grass Boys as guitarist for a short time in 1951 during a period when theStanley Brothers had temporarily disbanded.
On January 16, 1953 Monroe was critically injured in a two-car wreck. He and "Bluegrass Boys" bass player, Bessie Lee Mauldin, were returning home from a fox hunt north of Nashville. On highway 31-W, near White House, their car was struck by a drunken driver. Monroe, who had suffered injuries to his back, left arm and nose, was rushed to General Hospital in Nashville. It took him almost four months to recover and resume touring. In the meantime Charlie Cline and Jimmy Martin kept the band together.[8]
By the late 1950s, however, Monroe's commercial fortunes had begun to slip. The rise of rock-and-roll and the development of the "Nashville sound" in mainstream country music both represented threats to the viability of bluegrass. While still a mainstay on the Grand Ole Opry, Monroe found diminishing success on the singles charts, and struggled to keep his band together in the face of declining demand for live performances.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Breakfast Club: Bourbon for Breakfast

Some of you may say gross.
Other's may think Billy Hill has a problem.

Well, Billy Hill has plent-tee of problems but drinking bourbon too much, too often and too long ain't on the list.  Billy Hill is a responsible drinker, does not drink and drive and he strongly recommends temperance in ALL things (not as in the "Temperance Movement" but rather as exercising moderation or self-restraint).

But a good snort of the right bourbon with various breakfast foods can be a great enhancement.  Billy Hill will not pretend to have the taste pallet of some fancy NY culinary dude, well like Ken from the White Tiger on Boulevard in Athens GA - which is an incredible place to eat if you have not found it yet, but Billy Hill is more than happy to share what works for him.

Now, Billy Hill is a working man so he cannot have a snort of bourbon with every breakfast he eats and so, he does not have a full line up for you here yet but, Billy Hill will be posting new parings in the future under the title of Breakfast Club.

But for today, Billy Hill has one for you to try.  Now, Billy Hill has to give you a disclaimer here because he ain't tried this'n quite yet but he is toying with the idea cause Billy Hill loves him some bacon almost as much as bourbon.  But here is a recipe that Billy Hill stumbled across:

Bacon infused Bourbon


(750-milliliter) bottle bourbon
1/4 cup warm bacon grease

Remove 1/4 cup bourbon from bottle. Pour warm bacon grease into bottle. Cover and let stand 4 hours, shaking bottle occasionally. Chill 3 to 7 days. Pour bourbon through a wire-mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter into a bowl; discard filter. Clean bottle. Pour strained bourbon into bottle, and store at room temperature up to 6 months.
Tested with Benton's Smoked Country Bacon and Woodford Reserve Bourbon.

If you try it, let Billy Hill know what you think. 

Billy Hill here, I like it neat

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bourbon Review: Woodford Reserve Double Oaked

It was late Thursday night a week ago that Billy Hill discovered this jewel of a bourbon.  After attending a board meeting in town, Billy swung by and picked up a friend and headed out to the local awesomeness of Chops and Hops.  Now, with the recent law changes that allowed the sell of liquor in Oconee Country, pilot, entrepreneur and all around great guy P.L. and owner of Chops and Hops quickly stocked his bar.  Billy Hill was a bit skeptical but he stopped by anyway.  P.L. sent the bar tender straight over to have Billy Hill sample the bourbon on the shelf, which he and his friend gladly did and they had some rather good samples.  Breckenridge purportedly made from melted snow caught Billy Hill's attention.  But it was not until P.L. came over to hang out that the Woodford Reserve Double Oaked was sat on the bar.  Billy Hill has had his fair share of Woodford Reserve but, had not had the chance to take a gander at this Double Oaked rendition.

And so, step aside Bib and Tucker cause there is a new bourbon in town.  Billy Hill has been a die hard fan of Bib and Tucker (on the right) for quite awhile, not finding anything that could rival it, until now.  Don't get me wrong, Bib and Tucker is awesome and, the bottle pictured above was purchased specifically for Mr. P.L. and will be "partooken" of as soon as he and Billy Hill can get together again.  But the Woodford Reserve Double Oaked screams at you on the first virgin swig, and each swig that follows is softer, fuller and flows even better.  This is a dangerous dangerous bourbon and you should stay away from it if you need to be productive in the near future, such as passing the bar, studying for boards, or giving a speech, especially studying for the boards though.  But if all is clear, belly up to the bar and enjoy this and don't stop at one pour cause Billy Hill promises you that this one only gets better and like a LAYS potato chip, you can't have just one.

Billy Hill got his a J's Bottle Shop on Prince Ave for just over $55.  Well worth the price and as you can see, it is already below the top of the label, significantly.  It is good with a bit of spicy food especially, but Billy Hill prefers it on its own, and obviously neat.  So, go get yourself a fifth and let Billy Hill know what you think, or better yet, stop in at Chops & Hops in downtown Watkinsville GA and get the ribeye and a couple pours of their Woodford Reserve Double Oaked (and try the Breckenridge while you are there as well).

Billy Hill is looking forward to trekking down to the ATL here soon to get a snort of some Pappy Van Winkle at what I am sure will be Billy Hill's favorite place very soon.

You guys keep it safe,

Billy Hill here, I like it neat.