Billy Strings Debuts New Covers In Ohio

Billy Strings began his two-night stand at Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio on Friday. The guitarist would unveil two new covers in each set.

Strings and his band — mandolinist Jarrod Walker, bassist Royal Masat and banjo player Billy Failing — got the show underway with an extensive excursion on the instrumental “Pyramid Country” that saw the band weaving in newer tune “Fire On My Tongue,” which included “Jessica” (ABB) and “Living Over” (GSBG) teases, before returning to “Pyramid Country” (and a “Mind Left Body” Jam) for the first time ahead of The Beatles’ “And Your Bird Can Sing” and a final reprise of “Pyramid Country” which then headed into Billy’s stellar version of the Grateful Dead’s “Wharf Rat” completing the continuous section that encompassed half of the first frame. The favorite “Dust In A Baggie” came next followed by another newer original in “Hellbender.”

Billy and the band then delivered their debut of The Dillards’ “Dooley.” The song originally appears on the highly influential bluegrass group’s 1962 album, Back Porch Bluegrass. The new original “Fire Line” would kick off a set-closing segment that also saw the band taking a psychedelic ride on “Reuben’s Train,” which featured elements of “Black Magic Woman,” to bring the first set to a close.

Strings and company delivered “Libby Phillips Rag” for just the second time, as per Phantasy Tour, since debuting it earlier this year at The Capitol Theatre to kick off the second set (PT also notes that the instrumental was inspired by the band finding Libby Phillips’ ID in a Nashville Airbnb). The quartet then headed into “Will You Be Loving Another Man” from towering bluegrass figures Bill Monroe and Lester Flatts. Two originals in “Watch It Fall” and “Meet Me At The Creek” came next with the latter containing a tease of GD’s “Feel Like A Stranger.”

Billy would then go it alone to debut the traditional, “House Carpenter.” Strings continued in the solo format with “Brown’s Ferry Blues,’ another traditional first recorded by the Delmore Brothers in the 1930s and later covered by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter in the early 1960s. The band then joined back in for an homage to the late great Jeff Austin a day after the two-year anniversary of his death. The two-song tribute began with Jeff’s “Rundown” followed by the Austin-penned Yonder Mountain String Band song “Sorrow Is A Highway.” The set would come to a close with “Hide & Seek.” Billy Strings and his band then delivered a two-song encore which featured songs the Grateful Dead covered beginning with the traditional “Jack-A-Roe” followed by Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried.”

Watch audience-shot video of the ‘House Carpenter” debut as well as “Brown’s Ferry Blues” below via the JamBase Live Video Archive:

Setlist (via Billy Strungs Setlist Page)

Set One: Pyramid Country > Fire On My Tongue (1)(2) > Pyramid Country > And Your Bird Can Sing > Pyramid Country (3) > Wharf Rat, Dust In A Baggie, Hellbender, Dooley (4), Fire Line > Rueben’s Train (5)

Set Two: Libby Phillips Rag > Will You Be Loving Another Man, Watch It Fall, Meet Me at the Creek (6), House Carpenter (7)(8), Brown’s Ferry Blues (8), Rundown, Sorrow is a Highway, Hide & Seek

Encore: Jack-A-Roe, Mama Tried

Notes:

  • (1) Living Over tease
  • (2) Jessica tease
  • (3) Mind Left Body Jam
  • (4) FTP – The Dillards
  • (5) Black Magic Woman tease
  • (6) Feel Like A Stranger tease
  • (7) FTP
  • (8) Billy Solo