Copyright 2002

[ March 26th 2002 ]

Actor Billy Bob Thornton, star of The Man Who Wasn't There, will soon be the man behind the microphone as he launches a two-week rockabilly tour this spring to promote his debut album, Private Radio. Thornton, who once earned a living as a drummer and opened for such acts as Humble Pie, Hank Williams Jr., Ted Nugent and Richie Havens, will return to his musical roots with a series of small concert-hall performances starting May 17 at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles.

The actor will use the eight-city U.S. tour to showcase songs from Private Radio, released last fall by Lost Highway Records, as well as tunes from an upcoming record, a statement announcing the tour said on Tuesday. "These songs are incredibly personal to me, and I think the best way to share them with an audience is in an intimate setting where they can really feel the emotion in them," Thornton said in the statement.

Private Radio was released to mixed reviews last fall, though Rolling Stone magazine, which gave it four stars, described the album as a "pleasing Southern Gothic exploration in mid-tempo twang, bad-boy rockabilly revelries and dark balladry." Most of the songs were co-written by Thornton, who plays drums on the record, and producer Marty Stuart.

On one track, the Arkansas native murmurs to his woman that "the only thing standing between me and you now is 200 miles and a donut tire." In another, presumably written for actress-wife Angelina Jolie, Thornton sings, "Angelina, what's come between us? Could it be the magic and mystery of love?"

The tour follows a busy acting year for Thornton, whose recent movie appearances included the Coen brothers film noir "The Man Who Wasn't There," the crime caper "Bandits" with Bruce Willis and Cate Blanchett and the racially charged drama "Monster's Ball" with Halle Berry.

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