Billy Strings Debuts John Hartford Cover At Levitate

Billy Strings closed out the main stage action at Levitate’s Pop-Up Festival on Sunday. Strings and his band played one 90-minute set last night at the Marshfield Fairgrounds in Marshfield, Massachusetts that included the debut of a John Hartford cover.

The guitarist, bassist Royal Masat, banjoist Billy Failing and mandolinist Jarrod Walker opened by pairing “Red Daisy” and “Fire Line” from their forthcoming Renewal studio album. Failing dealt with a broken string while his bandmates performed the traditional “Soldier’s Joy” without him. Strings reached over at one point and played chords on Walker’s mandolin with his left hand as Jarrod picked with his right hand.

The quartet then honored John Hartford with their first “Steam Powered Aereo Plane” since November 13, 2019 and the Billy Strings debut of “Untangle Your Mind.” Hartford wrote and recorded the latter for his 1967 debut album, Looks At Life. More covers followed as Strings and his band took on Billy Hayes’ “I’ll Remember You, Love, In My Prayers” and jammed Bill Emerson’s “Home Of The Red Fox” into the traditional “Little Maggie.” Next, Billy went solo for the recently debuted “The House Carpenter” and Delmore Brothers’ “Brown’s Ferry Blues.”

Strings was then joined by the rest of his band for a seamless sequence that began with “The Likes Of Me” and continued with “Pyramid Country,” “Enter The Dragon,” “Must Be Seven” and “Thunder.” Billy wrote the music for the latter which features lyrics from Robert Hunter. Last night’s “Thunder” included teases of “Enter The Dragon” and the Inspector Gadget theme. The quartet capped the set with Reno & Smiley’s “Long Gone” and said farewell with a “Slow Train” encore.

Billy Strings and his band now head to Pittsburgh for a show at Stage AE on Wednesday. Watch fan-shot footage from the quartet’s Levitate set below:

Soldier’s Joy

Billy Strings (See 326 videos)

Home Of The Red Fox into Little Maggie

dan sullivan
Billy Strings (See 326 videos)

Setlist (via PT Billy Strings)

Set: Red Daisy, Fire Line [1], Soldier’s Joy [2] [3], Steam Powered Aereo Plane, Untangle Your Mind [4], I’ll Remember You, Love, In My Prayers, Home Of The Red Fox, Little Maggie, The House Carpenter [5], Brown’s Ferry Blues [5], Likes Of Me > Pyramid Country > Enter The Dragon > Must Be Seven > Thunder [6] [7], Long Gone

Encore: Slow Train

  • [1] – Jerusalem Ridge tease
  • [2] – w/o Billy Failing – broken string
  • [3] – Levitate reach around – Billy Strings played the mando chords for Jarrod (left hand) while Jarrod picked (right hand)
  • [4] – First Time Played
  • [5] – Billy Strings solo
  • [6] – Enter The Dragon tease
  • [7] – Inspector Gadget tease