Bill Shanley is an internationally renowned guitarist who works with Ray Davies and also artists like Mary Black, Paul Brady, Gilbert O’ Sullivan and Sínead Ó Connor.
Being an accompanist has always been of key interest to Bill as a player, his philosophy is that you can have great scope and no limit as to the backdrop you create for the singer your working with. His skill as a sideman was recently commented on in a Financial Times review of a Ray Davies show at the Royal Albert Hall – “Is there a finer sideman around? It’s unlikely.”
Born in the early 70’s in the West Cork haven of Clonakilty and brought up in the renowned Shanley’s Music Bar, Bill’s early years were spent immersed in the lives of pro musicians, performing on regular occasions with Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell, Tom McGuinness and Eric Bell. Bill’s father, Moss Shanley, a piano player himself immersed in the music of the 50’s and 60’s, and Noel Redding of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, were both teachers and mentors to Bill. From his first guitar lessons with Noel at the age of nine, they played hundreds of gigs in Shanley’s Bar and their relationship culminated in a trip to Paris in 1990. Noel, together with Bill on guitar and Randy California, put a band together for the 20th Anniversary of Hendrix’s death in the famous Olympic Theatre in Paris, which was coincidentally the venue the JHE did their first ever gig in 1966!
In 1990, at 18 years of age Bill moved to Dublin and immediately started working both live and in the studio as a very highly sought after musician. Playing with people like Eleanor McEvoy during the heady days of recording and touring ‘A Woman’s Heart’ (on the strength of which Eleanor and her band signed to Geffen Records where they recorded her debut release in 1994) and becoming a key member of Mary Black’s band in 1995, of which he still remains today, recording albums like ‘Full Tide’, ‘Stories from the steeples’ , ‘Speaking with the Angels’, ‘Shine’.
Bill joined Ray Davies band in 2007 and has since worked closely with Ray doing countless tours with his band and as a two man show and also recording albums like The Kinks Choral Collection in 2009 and more recently The Kinks Collaborations album which featured artists like Jackson Browne, Amy MacDonald, Mumford and Sons, Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi.