Bio

Billy Constable grew up in a very musical family in Avery County, and he has been playing music for most of his life. Billy is part of Avery County’s Wiseman family, which includes a number of professional musicians including Scotty Wiseman, Lawrence Wiseman, David Wiseman, Fiddling Jimmy Wiseman, banjo picker Kent Wiseman, and Billy’s mother, Lois.

Billy has been diagnosed with a tumor that has been causing seizuresĀ  He is currently undergoing medical evaluation with a series of specialists and will evaluate his options as he gets additional information. Currently, Billy has no health insurance and the costs are certain to be very high. This site has been set up to help raise funds to offset the medical costs and to keep friends and fellow musicians informed.

Apologies to BlueRidgeHeritage.com – I stole this bio from there – Thanks guys.

Billy began playing guitar professionally as a youngster with bluegrass great Charlie Moore, who had married Billy’s mother. He also played in Douglas Dillard’s newly formed “post Dillards” bluegrass band The Doug Dillard Band from Hollywood, which also featured Byron Berline and occasional guests like Vassar Clements and Sam Bush.

After touring with The Doug Dillard Band, Billy took a break from the road in order to work on his banjo skills while playing in a family’s band, The Constables, who were living in California at the time. He later had the opportunity to tour with two more bluegrass greats, Kenny Baker, a veteran fiddler from Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, and Josh Graves, a long time Dobro player with Flatt & Scruggs’ Foggy Mountain Boys.

Billy’s approach to the banjo is firmly rooted in Appalachian string music, but it can be deceptively eclectic. His influences begin at home and with his family, but Billy’s repertoire is vast, and he is comfortable in most musical situations. In addition to banjo, Billy is also an accomplished musician on the guitar, mandolin and violin.

In recent years, Billy has carried his banjo into more jam-oriented groups such as Acoustic Forum from New York and New England’s Max Creek. He toured extensively and recorded with Hypnotic Clambake and The Larry Keel Experience. Billy has appeared on many shows with Leftover Salmon, and he was also a featured guest on a handful of String Cheese Incident shows and one of their recent albums “Carnival 99.” Billy is also a member of the seasonal Big Daddy Bluegrass Band with Steve MacMurray, Curtis Burch, and Larry Keel.

14 thoughts on “Bio

  1. Billy, I was wondering why I hadn’t heard from you lately, I am going to give you some money here and there whenever it is humanly possible, the cool thing is I can use my credit card on this site cause right now I’m all outta cash or it is all spoken for, holler when its convenient and I hope u get better real soon, you still got a lot notes in you left hold on brother hold on!

    • just think of it as payment for all those lessons you gave and never asked for a dime, you helped me out more than any other picker man, tell momma and squiwi and touse hi.

  2. Dave,

    We are planning a music extravaganza down here in Spruce Pine, NC on Saturday November 12th, 2011. It looks like we will have a spaghetti supper, auction items and as of today at least 3 bands to perform. It starts at 4:00 pm and runs till ? all proceeds will go to assit Billy and his mom (Aunt Lois) with whatever needs they have or are going to have. We appreciate your efforts from the North Country.

  3. Please keep me posted on that spaghetti supper fundraiser. I want to help out any way I can. If you need people to post flyers, I’m your man.

  4. Billy, long, long time no see, but I won’t ever forget the generous soul who took the time to teach me what syncopation is. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    Scott J from Buffalo

  5. So glad to know you weathered the storm. You are, as always. remembered with love and gratitude for being a wonderful friend,

  6. Will someone please contact me and let me know how Billy is doing? I just learned of his situation, and it worries me that the last there hasn’t been an update here since the end of last year.
    Billy and his brother and sister stayed at my house for a little while back in the mid-eighties, and I think of him fondly, and often… Hope all is well.

  7. So Glad for your support for our Family Billy, in attending Uncle
    Douglas’s Memorial Service- Uncle Douglas will be greatly missed-
    He was like a 2nd Dad to Jay & I- He was always there for us in
    all phases of our lives- went on alot of our Family vacations-
    I rem our Hawaiian trip w Uncle Doug & his friend, Chip Douglas-
    Jay, Douglas & I went hiking together in Hawaiian Mountains- so
    gorgeous w all the orchids ect- Uncle Douglas & his friend Chip ate
    ALL the pineapples that we got from Dole Plantation & my Mom was
    wondering where they were the next morning-ha! I have picture of
    1st flatpicking contest in St. Louis that Uncle Douglas backed me up on-
    I rem when he went to Japan w Uncle Rodney, and he brought his “own”
    food- “spam” & canned beans, and the Japanese hosts were worried /
    asking Rodney why he wasnt eating their food-ha!
    Was comfort to see Ginger there &hear her & Cathy singing for
    Uncle Douglas at Memorial service- Jay & I played “Dougs Tune”
    We certainly would have also loved to hear your guitar playing for
    Uncle Douglas Billy…So tough when we arrived…Im glad we could
    pull ourselves together & keep our composure to honor Uncle Douglas-
    I have solice in my faith to see him again-

    Great to see you again-will keep you in my Prayers for your health- Our cousin, Sam Dillard, lives in Nashville, and he is retired Neuropathologist frm Vanderbilt University-
    Ill try to get his email for you- he knows the best Docs in your area-
    I also know Dr. Eric Holland at Sloan Kettering in NY- Ill send you his
    email- I interviewed w him back in 1999, when He had lab at MD
    Anderson in Houston- One of my brother Earl-Jay’s close friends, Terry Harris who lives here in St. Louis , has been in remission w astrocytoma brain tumor for 12+ years- My Mom is in remission frm Stage 4 breast cancer- 12+ years-thank the Lord- it has been in her backbone/not
    progressing- I was diagnosed in 2008 w same type of breast cancer-
    as my Mom. Caught it early on screening & Im just on anti-estrogen- So, Im quite motivated to be working in the cancer research field-my husband Eric tells me “not to work on my own cells/cancer, because Im not immune”
    ha! I did have my pathologist give me a tour of my slides on microscope
    though…My husband Eric is Genetic Counselor in DNA testing lab at
    Baylor- My lab at Baylor works mainly on 50 + breast cancer cell lines, looking to identify genes that we can modulate to cure cancer- I also know many people in research at MD Anderson Cancer Ctr in Houston- Dr. Raymond Dubois came from Vanderbilt not too long ago, to take a high position at MD Anderson- I interviewed w him in 2006- I worked for 2 years in a MD Anderson brain cancer lab/Dr. Sadhan Majumder- I met many Neuro-Oncologists at MD Anderson at that time 2006-2008-
    Ron Depinho, president of MD Anderson, is good friends w my
    former boss Dr. Tyler Jacks (Head MIT Cancer Ctr)- I worked in
    Cancer Research frm 1989-1996 in Boston w Tyler Jacks- I have
    many Nature/Science papers w Tyler- we worked on 2 mouse models
    for cancer- retinoblastoma (eye cancer) & neurofibromatosis (schwann
    cell cancer-cell that insulates the nerves) Boy, with all this research
    experience behind me, I wish I could say we are getting closer to a cure, but
    I have to say, its quite challenging… I really think its going to take
    targeting multiple pathways at once- probably new blood vessel formation
    & cell energy/metabolism are the processes that will be targeted in tandem-
    Well, will close for now- Our prayers are with you Billy
    Sissy (Earlene Dillard Schmitt)

  8. I wasn’t aware of Billy’s condition until just recently when I was in Boone with the Ferrell family. I hadn’t seen Billy since 1975/76 when I first met him living on Old Beach Mtn Rd, in NC. Even then Billy could tear a banjo up. I had the pleasure to spend some time with him last week (6/25/12); he looked great and his pickn hasn’t suffered one bit. I consider myself lucky to again be in his presence and hear him play again. He is the best. He seems to have recovered from his difficult times. God bless Billy!

  9. Hi Billy….. From your old….. Dare I say it……. YOUR OLD DRUMMER… Out here in San Diego. I still remember all the times I was able to play with you and your family. Hope you are well……… I still play…. In three bands now. Keeps me young. Long life my friend,
    Larry

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