Billy Strings Signs to Rounder, Sets Release of New Album “HOME”
If you’re eyes are solely affixed to Texas and Kentucky, and the Outlaw and underground scenes for who may rise up among the ranks of musicians and help save country music, you’re gaze is overshooting one of the most impressive classes of young bluegrass musicians the subgenre has birthed in history. And right atop that class is the Michigan-born and Nashville-based Billy Strings, who is a guitar-playing maestro second to none, and an impressive singer/songwriter to boot.
Billy’s debut 2017 album Turmoil & Tinfoil earned high marks from Saving Country Music, and in 2018, he was named the #2 best live performer only behind the high and mighty Mike and the Moonpies. Now Billy Strings has officially signed to Rounder Records, and will be releasing his latest album HOME on September 27th, 2019. Don’t be surprised if it launches him into the stratosphere of not just bluegrass, but country and Americana, and the world of music beyond where Billy wows crowds from the jam band and rock world, and even jazz and experimental music with his other-worldly improvisation and musical imagination.
“Rounder has set a very high bar in its nearly 50 years of presenting some of the best virtuosic acoustic music of all time,” says Rounder President John Strohm. “Billy is not only an instrumentalist to rival the finest talents on Rounder’s historic roster, but he’s also a phenomenal singer, writer, collaborator, and live performer. It is our great honor and privilege to have the opportunity to work with such a brilliant, innovative young artist to complement Rounder’s outstanding musical tradition.”
HOME was recorded at the legendary Blackbird Studios and Zac Brown-owned Southern Ground in Nashville. Producer Glenn Brown, who worked with Billy on his debut album, returns on the new effort. Also joining Billy Strings in the studio is frequent collaborator and fellow fast rising bluegrass star Molly Tuttle, dobro master Jerry Douglas, along with Billy’s own backing band that’s been playing some 200 shows a year—banjo player Billy Failing, bassist Royal Masat, and mandolin player Jarrod Walker.
As Saving Country Music has said about Billy Strings before, “The only way to describe the Billy Strings live experience is like tripping without acid. The compositional fortitude is so soaring, it opens up recess in your mind that are otherwise inaccessible. In a word, Billy Strings is a modern-day musical virtuoso.”
June 26, 2019 @ 9:10 am
Billy Strings will blow your mind onstage, then show up at your pickin circle and play every Dillards song known to man till the sun comes up.
September 29, 2019 @ 8:13 pm
This is the best comment I’ve ever seen on SCM.
June 26, 2019 @ 9:32 am
Yet another example that there aren’t enough hours in the day to listen to all the great music being made, NOW, today. I know there’s importance to the fight for the soul of mainstream country, but from a FAN / LISTENER perspective, I don’t know how many more great artists I need in my life. Between this guy, Molly, all the other great string bands, adding that to your essential albums lists from the last 5 years alone, provides more music than I can possibly even listen to.
But I digress. Looking forward to this album, thanks for the heads up.
June 26, 2019 @ 9:38 am
love this guy and have for quite some time …pickin and singin’ doesn’t get any better . way more COUNTRY than pretty-much anything on radio …
BUT there are just too may great singers and pickers that THINK the are also great writers . WAY TOO MANY . And of course , the less-than-fair economic musical climate we navigate in these times mean that artists need to market EVERY aspect of who they are to generate revenue from their chosen profession .
I’m hoping this record is riddled with great material as well as great performances and that Billy has tapped into some veteran writing experience to ensure that .
I’m hoping folks who take the time to listen to Billy Strings totally GET why radio is so far removed from REAL that its become impossible to stomach and why folks who love COUNTRY music are so supportive and appreciative of artists who also do .
June 26, 2019 @ 9:54 am
Potential album of the year right here. One of the few artists out there that I’m not afraid to preorder their album.
June 26, 2019 @ 10:20 am
Caught him in Chicago the day after the Turnpike debacle January. More than saved the weekend for me. Live he’s a totally different beast. I don’t know if they’re considered bootleg or he does them himself, but there’s a ton of high quality audio recordings of his concerts.
June 26, 2019 @ 1:58 pm
His sound guy, Andy Lytle, livestreams them (not all the festivals though) through Mixlr app. And they are available on Relisten.
June 26, 2019 @ 11:10 am
Wow.. this guy is amazing.
June 26, 2019 @ 12:52 pm
Very excited for this release, and another show here in August. I do take exception to the “backing band” you mention….this is a 4 piece phenomenon!!
June 26, 2019 @ 2:02 pm
I agree. Just keeping up with Billy is a feat as you known if you seen him live. Billy will go down a rabbit hole, emerge somewhere else, do a backflip, and his band is right there with him to stick the landing when it comes back to the hook. He also makes an effort to highlight their musicianship. Billy String might tour and record under his own name, but it’s a great band overall.
June 26, 2019 @ 2:09 pm
I have friends who’ve been absolutely ape shit for this guy for a while now. I get it, but I haven’t quite gotten on board yet. Those friends are primarily involved in the jam band scene (Phish etc.).
I like technical proficiency in my music, but I generally get cold on artists that are primarily marketed or regarded as technical/instrumental virtuosos, who frequently jam out and improvise on their instrument(s) for ten to twenty minutes on a single song. I guess I like my music comparatively short and sweet. Different strokes for different folks. Maybe I’ll warm up to him once the new album comes out.
June 26, 2019 @ 8:09 pm
check out a copy of his 2017 album Turmoil and Tinfoil or either of his live releases with Don Julin, there are only two tracks on any of his records which exceed five minutes and Billy is nothing like Phish (nor does he have a habit to get lost in ten or twenty minute jamband fretboard wankery) his sound is kin to Doc Watson, Clarence White, Tony Rice or Bill Monroe,give it a go if you like those artists , 100% down home Bluegrass no drum circles or hippie dippie pretentiousness to be found in any of his music,
June 26, 2019 @ 8:19 pm
Yeah, him and the band will stretch their legs on some songs live, and I understand why the jam band crowd would get into his music. But like you can see in that clip I posted above from the Opry, a lot of his stuff, especially recorded, is pretty grounded in bluegrass. Of course we’ll have to see what happens with the new record.
June 27, 2019 @ 5:03 am
@Dylan and @Trigger
Will definitely give him a chance, and will check him out on tour later this year. I get that he’s firmly rooted in the bluegrass tradition and jamming is obviously a cornerstone of the genre.
Mary H Cummings
January 20, 2020 @ 8:18 pm
I have found that by listening to a wide variety of his material covering his history, his live performances and some small room, off the beaten path, venues, as well as his gigs at some big outdoor music festivals, that he is MUUUUUCH more broadly talented than just catching him in 1 or 2 youtube videos. He is VERY creative and it’s true that his live shows are known for going off book and having some fun and doing long jams, either alone or with another group. He loves to sit in and have other musicians sit in with him on stage. Find a couple of videos with Molly Tuttle playing, sitting in at a couple of festivals, too. A nice duo. But yeah. The more I listened to in the last few weeks, the more I realized how gifted he is and how diverse his talent is.
June 26, 2019 @ 2:43 pm
Oh man this great news. Good news for Billy and good news for music fans who love rip-roaring string music. I first heard of Billy through Triggers review of his performance at Pick-a-Thon in ’17 and became an instant convert. As well as the high quality audio recordings Thass mentioned in an earlier comment there are dozens upon dozens of quality video performances on YT. Listening to their music is great but watching that whole band perform it live is jaw dropping.
June 26, 2019 @ 7:06 pm
So excited for this. Already planning to see him in Atlanta for the first time in September! And based on the preview he posted to Instagram, it doesn’t sound like this will be a straight up bluegrass album (electric guitar!!). This will turn some traditionalists off, but seems like a logical step for these guys.
June 26, 2019 @ 10:26 pm
He’s a young kid and he’ll get even better ! Can’t wait to see it !
June 27, 2019 @ 6:43 am
I love traditional bluegrass and i find Billy Strings totally mind blowing. Hope he will stick more to the original genre than say Molly Tuttle(who i absolutely adore bue has a more singer/songwiter feel in the new album).
June 27, 2019 @ 6:57 am
Can anyone recommend a Billy and Molly collab? Seems like the one I saw was a well written song but they didn’t do that thing they do that makes me wanna burn all the guitars and quit life.
June 27, 2019 @ 4:23 pm
Hot damn, I’m putting this in the pipe and smoking it.
I’ve seen lots of videos of Billy (I like to follow the up and comers in the guitar world), and I like that he has plenty of edge to him in addition to the big ears. Hope he gets to be as old as Doc!
4 out of 5 corncobs
D Ray White
June 27, 2019 @ 9:05 pm
Billy’s family is from Kentucky. Like most things musically great in recent times, there’s a Bluegrass connection. And it’s going to suck if Billy blows up because the poser scene chasing crowd that has snatched up the Childers tickets will do the same thing for Billy. Chill Trig, you keep outing all the great musicians and making my 10-20 dollar tickets evaporate.
June 28, 2019 @ 5:25 am
We saw Billy Strings last year in Hamilton, Ohio (north of Cincinnati) at the Whimmydiddle Festival. This was one day after opening the Telluride Festival. A distance of some 1500 miles, in a van. The band was tired but gave it their all. He’s again playing this festival, moved to August 16-17. Looking forward to new music and this festival.
July 2, 2019 @ 7:14 am
Can’t wait for the new record. Billy and the band are awesome to watch. Mind-blowing.
I know bluegrass is their base, and a lot of folks in that arena want them to stay put, but I’m interested in what this group could come up with given more “electrification”. This is a talent that should be allowed to spread out organically in any direction it desires.