Fronted by the mercurial actor and musician and drummer Billy Bob (known here as W.R., — obviously William Robert) Thornton, the Boxmasters (the membership, at least in the recording capacity, rounded out by J.D. Andrew on bass, guitars, and vocals and Michael Wayne Butler on guitars and lap steel) are a California-based electric rockabilly/country rock band that is influenced by the sounds of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Buck Owens but puts a unique spin on the genre by adding a dash of British Invasion-era rock (Beatles, Stones, Kinks) to the mix. The band honed its skills in its early days by playing a handful of live shows in the California area, as well as a few gigs in Tecate, Mexico. The three-piece soon entered the studio — after securing a deal with Vanguard — and recorded its 2008 debut, simply titled The Boxmasters. To augment their sound — and allow W.R. Thornton to step out from behind the drums to take the vocals to the people — the Boxmasters recruited some sidemen to take on their road trips. These musicians included Brad Davis on mandolin, guitar, and vocals; Teddy Andreadis on harmonica and organ/keys; and Mike Bruce on drums. Later in 2008 the band released the holiday album Christmas Cheer, also on Vanguard. Released in 2009, Modbilly featured two discs, one stocked with originals and the other with covers.