Billy Droze
Ambassador– 10/23/2013
Carmen Road Records
Run time 0:22:18
7 songs

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

Even though he is only 26 years old, upstart Billy Droze is poised to lead a movement to keep country current by returning to its classic roots. The Louisiana born journeyman has spent countless hours playing club gigs as a youngster. His aptly titled EP, “Ambassador” (Oct. 23) is a showcase of songwriting skill featuring traditional instrumentation, soulful lyrics and ample twang. There is plenty of pedal steel, speed picking and jazzy piano in a tidy 22 minutes. Droze reached out to fans via social media for album title and final cut suggestions.  Guests include Sonya and Ben Isaacs [of the gospel group The Isaacs] and a few original members of Shenandoah (for which Droze spent time as a lead singer under the name Billy Ryan)

The 10th of 12 children, he grew up in Alabama knowing that music was his life as far back as he can remember. “It’s as if I was inserted with a computer chip that made my life revolve around music.” But the reason is just as likely the influence of his father, Bob Droze, a dedicated country, gospel, and bluegrass musician, even now that he’s in his 80s.

Although signed by RCA/Sony BMG as an artist shortly after arriving in Nashville, that never developed into what he’d hoped for. Since then he has also been a staff writer, with numerous publishing deals.


Droze flexes his traditionalist muscles immediately with the hard rocking outlaw anthem, Free Again. It’s about stealing cars and doing time featuring Jerry Lee style piano. His authoritative yet soothing tenor is reminiscent of Messrs. Strait and Gill. The seven songs are pleasing enough for the adult contemporary format. The poignant closer and highlight, If The Bottle Were A Bible is a thinker with a moral dilemma to ponder.  It  juxtaposes drinking and faith in a barroom setting.  The middle of the record is a pleasantly diverse collection where Droze’s arranging skills and versatility shine.  Ships and Trains is equally suitable for either a line or slow dance.  From the western swing of Keep On Lovin’ You to the tender We Did, Droze experiments with various stylings and  clearly demonstrates that classic and exceptional contemporary country do not have to be mutually exclusive.