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  • Writer's pictureJim Bessman

Billy F Gibbons' reverential alter ego stars in new country trio Chapel Hart's video

Billy F Gibbons

From left: Devynn Hart, Danica Hart, Rev. Willy G., JD Shelburne and Trea Swindle.

New female country trio Chapel Hart takes its name partly from the Chapel Baptist Church in the New Orleans-based group’s Poplarville, Mississippi hometown, and the video for their debut single “Jesus & Alcohol” is wedding-themed and takes place in a wedding chapel. So it’s only fitting that they turned to a veritable reverend to officiate.

Said veritable reverend is one Billy F Gibbons, ZZ Top’s legendary guitarist/vocalist, in his “Reverend Willy G” alter ego—which is no less real: Gibbons, in fact, has long been known as Reverend Willy G, having “at least a dozen and cousin” wedding ceremonies under his collar as an ordained minister in the non-denominational Universal Life Church.

Among Gibbons’ nuptial clientele are country music legend Billy Joe Shaver (his second marriage out of five) and Joe Walsh (with Ringo Starr in attendance, along with 15 Tibetan monks). And besides traditional settings, the Reverend has also performed a wedding at a Houston IKEA store, where he was thrilled to officiate at a “fully furnished” wedding at which Swedish meatballs were served.

Chapel Hart is comprised of sisters Danica and Devynn Hart, and cousin Trea Swindle. The David Abbott-directed video for their original “Jesus & Alcohol” has Danica playing a bride who gets stood up at the altar; Devynn and Trea are her disappointed bridesmaids, while contemporary country artist JD Shelburne is fitting as an embarrassed best man (his recent single is “Church Pew Bar Stool”), while country veterans Deborah Allen and T. Graham Brown appear as guests.

Gibbons, who had a recurring role of a bearded guitar legend in the long-running Fox TV crime procedural comedy-drama Bones, easily aces the role of the Reverend Willy G, as it calls for him to play guitar, swig from a flask, and offer a signature finger-point.

“I was happy to give the ladies of Chapel Hart my benediction in the video as well as in real life,” says Gibbons. “They’ve got the talent, so however unlikely this drive to make it in country music may appear, their ability is self-evident--and I’m happy to pitch in and shine a light, so to speak.”

Chapel Hart is managed by producer Jeff Glixman, who’s known Gibbons since the early 1970s.

“I’ve been thinking about the plotline of ‘Jesus & Alcohol,’” says Gibbons. “If Danica’s runaway groom ever comes to his senses and asks for a second chance, I’m not sure I’d be willing to perform the service! The guy is missing out on someone terrific--not to mention juxtaposition to certain country stardom. I think he’s probably dumb or clueless or both, and clearly unworthy of her.”

"Jesus & Alcohol"



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