For husband and wife duo Billy Shaw Jr. and Jessica Northey-Shaw, music is everything. The pair connected over a shared love for country music, meeting for the first time at one of Billy’s shows at country hangout The Maverick.
Jessica, a country social media consultant, saw Billy’s talent right away when she saw him perform “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” on his fiddle. She was taking video of Billy’s set for social media and the two were both tagged in the post, becoming Facebook friends and starting to chat.
Since then, the couple has wed and collaborate on a daily basis to make the band a success.
“We communicate so much and we both want to see the other person succeed,” Billy said. “There’s not a role that needs to be held. We both want each other to shoot for the moon and it doesn't matter which one of us it is that’s having success.”
Billy fronts the band, playing a variety of instruments, including fiddle, harmonica and mandolin as well as singing.
Jessica is manager, responsible for booking shows, getting the band paid, graphic design, public relations, and she recently started to learn tambourine to provide some more percussion in the band.
Billy said Jessica is a full-fledged member of their band, and credits her management and contributions for much of their success.
The Billy Shaw Jr. Band stays busy in town, playing shows regularly and practicing as often as they can.
“Our band is the best it's ever been, especially having two females in the band, it's nice,” Jessica said. “It’s super important, especially in country music, to empower other females. Women are still fighting for their place in country music.”
Mentoring younger musicians and helping women in particular make a name for themselves in Tucson’s country scene is important to the couple.
The latest additions to the band are bassist and vocalist Amy Munoz and newcomer Octavia Oliver on rhythm guitar and vocals.
While Munoz has played in multiple bands in town, the opportunity to share the stage with a full live band is a relatively new one for Oliver.
“She’s a songwriter with a great voice, a cowgirl who works with horses,” Billy said. “We are trying to help Octavia find her spot and we are so happy to find Amy. Octavia just needed stage time.”
Oliver has been playing music since a young age, writing her first song at 13 and getting accepted into the prestigious Tucson Junior Strings group in middle school.
She met Billy at a country music festival where she heard him perform and struck up a conversation with him.
“He started playing ‘Devil Went Down to Georgia’ and I just rubbernecked and turned around right away,” she said. “I love the sound of a fiddle and I grew up playing it so it's always great to hear other people playing it.”
After attending a few of Billy’s shows and performing with him as a guest, Billy and Jessica asked Oliver to join the band.
“It was a very happenstance meeting but it led to one of the greatest adventures of my life,” Oliver said. “I love them and they are like family.”
Jessica and Billy consider their band to be family, jokingly referring to them as their children.
“We are a band that loves each other,” Billy said.
The band is looking forward to playing the La Fiesta de los Vaqueros Tucson Rodeo this week, Feb. 20 through 23 as the official afterparty band at the Coors Light Barn.
For a full list of the band’s upcoming shows, visit facebook.com/BillyShawJr.