Billy Don Burns is going back to prison.
That is, the country singer-songwriter will perform at San Quentin State Prison at the end of his “Billy Don Goes Back to Prison Tour.” It won’t be his first time behind bars. In 2014, Burns, then 65, was arrested for possession of methamphetamines in Kentucky. Released from custody but still on probation, he attempted to drive to California, but was arrested again on his way west for violating the terms of his probation. He was sentenced to two years, serving 13 months.
Free again, Burns’ tour has led him to the Old Princeton Landing, where he and fellow country and blues singers Lisa Marie Johnston and Mike Hellman will perform at 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13. Tickets start at $8 online at oplhmb.com and $10 at the door. The event is 21-and-over only.
Burns was a force on the country music scene in the 1970s and ’80s, and an icon of country’s “outlaw” genre, popularized by Willie Nelson and The Highwaymen. Burns toured across America in the early 1980s, and had songs recorded by Nelson and Sammy Kershaw. In 1995, he released his debut album, “Long Lost Highway,” and in 2002 followed that with the album, “Train Called Lonesome.” His third came in 2012: “Nights When I’m Sober (Portrait of a Honky Tonk Singer).”
It was Johnston, an independent, self-funded recording artist based in Oakland, who is producing Friday’s show and coordinated with Burns to sing on the bill. Her band, LMJ & Friends, are regulars at the Fillmore in San Francisco, and she played at San Francisco’s Pride parade in 2012 and 2014. Her debut EP, “Time Flies By,” was released in 2015 and features a mix of country, Americana and blues into a unique style she simply calls “Stomp and Groove.” Johnston also works as a bartender at Old Princeton Landing, and is excited to see Burns perform there for the first time.
“I’ve been throwing artist-curated shows here, and it’s been going really well,” Johnston said. “(Burns) is definitely one of the bigger guys that I’ve presented.”
After Friday’s show, both Johnston and Burns head to Grass Valley for a music festival on Saturday.