Billy the Kid is Billy Pettinger, a former teenage runaway from Surrey, BC, who describes herself as "lost" due to her continuous lack of a fixed address. (For the moment, she resides in L.A.) Usually she fronts Billy and the Lost Boys, a melodic punk outfit that puts her blazing guitar riffs front and centre. Her new solo EP, The Lost Cause, reveals a softer side. Riffs are replaced by acoustic strumming, lap steel and harmonica, with Garth Hudson (yes, that Garth Hudson) on piano.
Produced by Raine Maida, the five-song EP's strength is Pettinger's voice, which has a Dallas Green quality, all hushed and confessional yet never wispy. Fittingly, her lyrics are heart-on-her-sleeve persuasive and sometimes get uncomfortably earnest. While fans of her earlier material might be reluctant to trade in Jawbreaker for the Band, her DIY ethic's still intact; the EP's out on her own Lost Records label. Now, if only she hadn't let a bunch of L.A. session pros usurp her guitar duties.
Top track: These City Lights