Background photo: Christopher Daniel
Billy Joe Huels, Lead vocals, trumpet, guitar and songwriter
Billy Joe Huels was raised on a farm in Southern Illinois. Growing up with a soundtrack of honky tonk and his parents’ collection of 40’s swing era LP’s, he developed a broad appreciation for American roots music. He found his passion when his father bought him his first trumpet at age 10 and the performer in him came alive. During college Billy Joe put down his trumpet, and set out to further his education and ‘make a living.’ But a love of playing music and performing never left him, and before long he found himself in the Seattle club scene belting out his original compositions with a Fender Telecaster in hand. Eventually, the trumpet was dusted off where it took center stage, and the unique sound and style of the Dusty 45s was born.
As founder and front man of the Dusty 45s, Billy Joe’s charisma and commanding stage presence has kept the Dusty 45s at the top of the Seattle music scene for more than a decade. He has contributed to numerous recordings with top Northwest artists, and most recently has lent his guitar and growling trumpet skills to the legendary Wanda Jackson.
Jerry Battista, Lead guitar
Blues, rock and roots veteran Jerry Battista has been the lead guitarist in the Dusty 45s for nearly 10 years. Formerly, he was a member of several top Northwest bands, including The Allies and Edison Jones. Battista also fronts his own group and continues to be a popular draw in clubs throughout the Northwest. He was named ‘Best Guitarist’ by Seattle Weekly in 2010, and in 2011 his band The Davanos was named Best Cover Band in Seattle.
Kelly Van Camp, Drums and harmonica
Kelly Van Camp grew up just south of the Seattle border, in Olympia, WA. His passion for drumming is nearly as old as he is. At age six he became drummer for his sibling/cousin band, showing the world that Quaker Oats boxes, tupperware, and pencils really can make great music. Flammable Gas recorded more than a dozen homemade albums. By age 12 it became apparent that Kelly’s passion for drumming wasn’t just a stage that he was going through, and his parents enrolled him in private lessons. He started gigging with his own bands and other groups during high school and hasn’t stopped since. Kelly moved to Seattle in 2001 and has contributed significantly to the rock, roots and ska scenes, performing and recording with his own bands as well as a wide variety of acts and musicians, including Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, and Dave Dederer of The Presidents of The United States Of America. He’s been with the Dusty 45s since 2006.
Jeff Gray, Upright Bass
Jeff Gray is a Southern boy who grew up in Georgia and now hails from Bellingham, WA. His unmistakable sound is an integral part of the Americana roots rock engine of the Dusty 45s. He was a member of Bellingham’s Footstompin’ Trio and the Gadjo Gypsies. Additionally, he expresses his talents writing and arranging for a wide variety of Northwest groups.