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INTERVIEW: William "Billy" Keane Of The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow On The Band's Start, Cayuga Sound Music Festival, And More

Sydney A. Braat

The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow headlined the Road to Cayuga Sound. (Photo: Sydney Braat)

In anticipation of the Cayuga Sound Festival that occurs in September, Hudson Whiskey presented the Road to Cayuga Sound on Monday, August 20 at Manhattan's Fine & Rare. This intimate, invite-only concert featured a set from festival performers, The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow. The group is comprised of five Massachusetts singer-songwriters who are known for their rock and roots-folk music.

We caught up with William "Billy" Keane of The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow to learn more about the group and their work:

Can you talk a bit about the start of The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow? Did you all know each other well before forming the group?

WK: The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow actually began as The Whiskey Treaty Festival, a local Western Massachusetts event hosted by founding member Tory Hanna's wife, Susie. Susie knew all of us from our various other projects, and invited our bands (we each fronted our individual projects) to perform. The festival went over wonderfully, and was in essence the first time we all were able to develop a real appreciation for each other's work and live performance. Tory and Susie were living in Brooklyn at the time, and Tory wrangled up a residency at Pete's Candy store, a hip venue near his neighborhood. Tory invited a number of us who'd played the festival to come down and do some solo sets during his residency. It wasn't long before we realized that audiences really enjoyed the variability and eclectic nature of having a number of singer songwriters sharing the stage. Prompted by the romantic notion of historic touring vaudeville shows, I came up with the Roadshow concept as a natural progression from what we'd been up to previously. Aptly named The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, we scheduled a short debut tour, which was documented by our good friend Tim Bradley. Tim's documentary short eventually won a number of gold medals at many film festivals across the country. With the success of both the tour and the doc, we booked more shows, wrote more songs, and now 4 years later we're still going strong.

Who are some musicians that have inspired your work?

WK: Although I hesitate to speak for the other members of the group, I can imagine that many of our musical inspirations are similar. That being said, I've always felt that inspiration comes both consciously and unconsciously. I can name songwriters and bands that have inspired my writing and performing, such as Dylan, Tom Petty, Eddie Vedder, Dave Van Ronk. However there are surely innumerable other influences that have inspired my work and the work of the other members of the treaty without even being aware of it. Sometimes inspiration can guide a writer further towards themselves, and at other times inspiration can drive a writer onto a path they hadn't even imagined. Every time one hears a piece of music, witnesses a performance, over-hears a conversation or stops to appreciate a view when otherwise they may have simply moved past, every time any of this happens a bit of inspiration can leak out from the world into ourselves.

What are you most excited about at Cayuga Sound Music Festival?

WK: Although The Treaty has been blessed to perform in many amazing venues and have been included in the lineups of some tremendous festivals, we have never played Cayuga, and that alone is cause for some excitement around here. We love hearing new bands, adore performing for new audiences, and are very much looking forward to sipping on some Hudson Whiskey, the event's official whiskey sponsor. Cayuga's lineup is absolutely killer, though there is no denying the fact that we're going to stand out a bit in that we represent a singer/songwriter, Americana vibe, as opposed to the rocking indie groups you're more likely to find at the fest. I think that juxtaposition is going to be super cool, both sonically for the audience and also for us backstage as we get to hang out with some folks we wouldn't ordinarily share the stage with.

Is there anything exciting for fans to be looking forward to?

WK: We're talking about a summer musical festival here. Fans should be excited about everything! This festival gets some amazing reviews, the producers put a ton of energy into their lineup, the setting, and the event as a whole. I'm sure I can speak for all the bands when I say that we are going to put on the absolute best performances that we can. We bring our best every time, we rock out every show like it could be our last, and fans aren't going to be disappointed. Fans can stream The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow on Spotify and all major platforms and purchase tickets to Cayuga Sound Music Festival here where The Whiskey Treaty will be performing on the Hudson Whiskey stage.

The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow documentary has received raving reviews and several awards. Watch the film here: www.thewhiskeytreaty.com.

The Cayuga Sound Festival will take place on September 21 and 22 in Stewart Park. Artists lined up for the event include X Ambassadors, Young The Giant, Matt and Kim, Sofi Tukker, Talib Kweli, Buddy, Knew, No Comply, and Lady D & The Shadow Spirits. More artists will be announced soon.

To learn more about Cayuga Sound Festival, visit www.cayugasoundfestival.com.

Sydney Braat is a Hamptons-raised and NYC-living journalist. She enjoys splitting her time between the bustling city life and relaxing atmosphere of the Hamptons. When she's not writing, Sydney is traveling. She thrives off of new experiences, cultures, cuisine, and languages. Sydney writes about the arts, philanthropy, food & wine, and shopping. https://www.sosydneyny.com/ sydneybraat

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