NEPA Scene Staff

Billy Bob Thornton performs with The Boxmasters at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on June 22

Billy Bob Thornton performs with The Boxmasters at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on June 22
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From a press release:

Academy Award-winning actor Billy Bob Thornton, best known for his roles in films like “Sling Blade,” “A Simple Plan,” “One False Move,” “Bad Santa,” and “Friday Night Lights,” is also a vocalist and musician. It was announced today that he and his Americana rock band The Boxmasters will perform at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Thursday, June 22.

Doors at Penn’s Peak (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe) open at 7 p.m., and the music starts at 8 p.m.

Tickets, which are $20 for regular reserved seating and $25 for premium reserved seating, go on sale next Friday, Jan. 27 at 10 a.m. via all Ticketmaster outlets, the Penn’s Peak box office, and Roadies Restaurant and Bar (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe). Box office and Roadies Restaurant ticket sales are walk-up only; no phone orders.

During the shutdown of 2020, the recording studios in Los Angeles were closed for several months. For avid creators Bud (Billy Bob Thornton) and J.D. Andrew, this was a time to start planning and writing for the day that the studios would open again and what sort of new songs would emerge. Over the course of the next year, The Boxmasters would record three new albums. A very personal album called “Nothing Personal,” which is yet to be released; “Christmas in California,” which was released in November of 2021; and “Help… I’m Alive,” which was released on April 15, 2022 on Keentone Records/Thirty Tigers.

“It’s been difficult for people to live in this world for the past few years. Normally you hear someone cry out, ‘Help, I’m drowning,’ or ‘Help, I’m dying.’ This song is a tongue-in-cheek way of saying, ‘Wow, it sucks being here right now. Help… I’m Alive.’ Well, OK, it’s really not so tongue-in-cheek. I came up with the chorus and melody just walking around the house during lockdown. It just came out in that moment, just as it is on the record. I picked up a guitar and Facetimed J.D.,” Thornton recalled about the creation of the title track on the album.

“This album was really a cathartic release for us. We were able to be in our favorite place in the world, which is the recording studio, so we made a joyful noise. Meanwhile, there was a lot of pain and suffering and fighting all around us. I lost one of my best friends from childhood who took his own life on one of the days that we were recording, so there are those bits of sadness in these poppy and fun-sounding songs,” Andrew added.

The 2022 Help… I’m Alive Tour ran from April into June and made stops in all areas of the United States. Familiar stops in Kansas City at Knuckleheads, Atlanta, Annapolis, Oregon, and California were joined by new venues in Texas, Wyoming, Ohio, and Kentucky.

“We were having the best tour of our careers last summer before we had to stop due to the coronavirus, so we are very excited to get back out there and in front of the fans,” Andrew said. “We should have some new merchandise as well as a few new songs from both ‘Help… I’m Alive’ as well as new songs that we’ve been writing in the last few months.”

Formed in 2007, The Boxmasters have recorded an impressive and diverse catalog of music that touches on their love of a wide array of influences, but most importantly, the rock and roll of the 1960s. Listening to the band, one can hear obvious odes to The Beatles, Byrds, and Beach Boys, but also important to The Boxmasters are The Mothers of Invention, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, and Big Star.

Since forming The Boxmasters, several longtime friends have contributed to the sound of the band, but the core of the group has always been Andrew and Thornton. As primary songwriters, the sound of The Boxmasters has been an evolution as the duo constantly strive to find new inspiration, new sounds, and new ways of expressing what is in their hearts and on their minds. But at the core, there is a backbeat, a lyric with meaning and music played with emotion.

As a touring band, The Boxmasters have cultivated a rabid cult fanbase across the United States and Canada. Opening for the likes of ZZ Top, Steve Miller, George Thorogood, and Kid Rock, they have proven to win over large audiences. As a headliner, frequent stops in Kansas City at Knuckleheads, Springfield, Illinois at Boondocks, and Merrimack Hall in Huntsville, Alabama have shown dedicated yet still growing audiences. Two appearances at Levon Helm’s “Midnight Ramble” in Woodstock, New York were highlight performances for the band, as well as the “Ramble at the Ryman” that Levon hosted in 2008. The Boxmasters performed at the Grand Ole Opry in 2015, another in a growing resume of must-play venues.