Ol’ Billy Bob Boy is the country/bluegrass alter ego of western Newfoundland musician Bill Simms. (Submitted by Bill Simms)

Years before country/bluegrass artist Ol’ Billy Bob Boy made his debut solo album, Sweltering Sun, he had the album cover ready to go. 

Bill Simms created Ol’ Billy Bob Boy for an art class assignment when he was in high school in Corner Brook.  

“We had to do a graphic design segment,” explained Simms. 

“So I made a poster for Ol’ Billy Bob Boy’s Holiday Hoedown Box Set.” 

‘Just for a laugh’ 

Simms started imagining himself as a country singer, and continued designing album covers “just for a laugh,” including the cover for his future album, Sweltering Sun. 

Also a bass player, Simms studied music at the College of the North Atlantic in Stephenville and St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. 

Initially interested in jazz and rock, Simms started exploring country and bluegrass music through bar gigs and his work with the the Stephenville Theatre Festival. 

We’ve decided to move back to Newfoundland, where there is some green space and peace and quiet.- Ol’ Billy Bob Boy aka Bill Simms

Sweltering Sun is an album of 12 original songs, which blend the sounds of traditional country and bluegrass music with modern lyrics about life and love. 

Simms had planned to tour Sweltering Sun through western Canada. Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened. 

Instead, he’s heading east from his current base in Toronto.   

“We’ve decided to move back to Newfoundland, where there is some green space and peace and quiet,” said Simms. 

New plans for Ol’ Billy Bob Boy

in his future base of Bonne Bay, Simms plans to teach music remotely, keep working on his own original music, and do a bit of online performing. 

Would his younger self be surprised that he actually became Ol’ Billy Bob Boy?  

“Teenaged Bill Simms wasn’t really into country music,” said Simms.  

“But at the same time, I think he would appreciate it for sure.” 

Ol’ Billy Bob Boy, a.k.a. Bill Simms, talks about his long awaited debut album, The Sweltering Sun 16:49

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