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Billy Ebeling is a busy man. He plays solo gigs and gigs with his Late for Dinner Band, and he hosts a weekly open jam session at Knuckleheads on Saturday afternoons.
This afternoon (Thursday), Ebeling heads to Lawrence to treat locals to a set of free tunes as part of the city's Brown Bag Lunch Series. We chatted with him about that and his various other activities.
The Pitch: Are you a Lawrence or Kansas City native?
Billy Ebeling: Native -- kindergarten to KU, although I did live overseas for 12 years.
How many years have you participated in this series and how did you first find out about the event?
We've done several brown bags for the city. I can't remember exactly how many. I got the opportunity to play through Duane Peterson who works for the Parks and Rec in Lawrence.
Do people bring their lunch?
Lunch is not provided, but there are plenty of places downtown to get something and come by. It's great that the city puts on these events. They also do an arts and crafts show in September that we're playing.
What songs will you play?
Mainly originals. I'll be taking a half-dozen instruments, so mainly showcasing the variety of instruments through the songs. I recently got an African thumb piano, aka kalimba or mbar, and have worked up some songs on that. I'll also have the accordion, banjo, a kid-size guitar set up for slide, my electric guitar, and harmonicas. Leaving the keyboard at home so it won't melt the LCD.
What if it's too hot or rainy?
If it rains, it's to be held at the Watkins Museum. It's never too hot for me.
Any new news with the band? With you? Anything upcoming?
We have a new CD, Conniption Fit. It's a fun album of covers from the Beatles, Stones, AC/DC, Bob Marley, Smokey Robinson, and Cheap Trick, done with pedal steel and banjo. Kind of a country twist. A local artist, Debbie Dillon, handmade the covers sewing banjo strings, putting each cover together by hand. These are limited signed editions and numbered to 500. I'm also releasing my entire catalog of 18 or so CDs on a flash drive. Movies and photos are also included on the drive. I'll be in England playing in September and New Zealand in December and January.
I know you play a ton of dates around town. Are you more busy now than ever?
I'm really busy in the summer. I'm doing over 30 shows this month. June was like that, and so is August. I don't have an open weekend until October.
Catch Ebeling today at the Brown Bag Lunch Series, at Ninth and Massachusetts, from noon to 1 pm.