Billy Strings - November 1-2, 2019 in Carrboro, NC

Billy Strings sold-out two night stand at the legendary Cat's Cradle.

There seems to be little doubt that the hottest string band on the rise right now is Billy Strings. They just released a great new CD on Rounder called "Home". The prior album "Turmoil & Tinfoil" is well on track to be Home Grown Music Network's top seller of 2019!

This hot band rolled into Carrboro, NC and performed two excellent shows at the iconic Cat's Cradle.  Both shows and pretty much the whole tour were sold out months in advance.  Heck, I even had a hard time getting in!  But I did, and it was a great time.

The band members include: William Apostol (aka Billy Strings) on guitar and lead vocals, Billy Failing on banjo, Royal Masat on bass, and Jarrod Walker on mandolin.  A traditional bluegrass lineup who plays traditional bluegrass and a whole lot more. They aren't afraid to plug their acoustic instruments into some effects pedals to get some extra spice on the notes that can often send the songs into psychedelic realms.  A quick look at the setlists below will give you a good idea of the range of influences on the musicians (Phish, Grateful Dead, and Black Sabbath being some of the non-traditional ones).  Why not listen for yourself!  Our longtime taper pal, Rusty Phipps, was on hand to tape the first night.  Listen here.  Rusty was shut out of the second show, but you can peruse the setlist below.

Night 1, Set 1:

Thirst Mutilator
Taking Water
Steam Powered Aereo Plane (John Hartford cover)
While I'm Waiting Here
Black Clouds (The String Cheese Incident cover)
Rosa Lee McFall (Charlie Monroe cover)
On the Line
Train 45 (The Stanley Brothers cover)
Enough to Leave
Nobody's Love Is Like Mine (The Stanley Brothers cover)
Running on Empty (Jackson Browne cover)

Set 2:
Black Mountain Rag (The Doc Watson Family cover) (Billy solo)
Pancho & Lefty (Townes Van Zandt cover) (Billy solo)
Must Be Seven
The Cuckoo Bird (The Doc Watson Family cover) >Living Like an Animal
Red Rocking Chair ([traditional] cover) >Planet Caravan (Black Sabbath cover) >Southern Flavor (Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys cover)
Shady Grove (traditional] cover)
Meet Me at the Creek
Ride Me High (J.J. Cale cover) (followed by 'Meet Me at the Creek' reprise)
Encore: Freedom

Night 2:

Set 1:

Everything's the Same

I've Just Seen the Rock of Ages (Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys cover)
There Is a Time (The Dillards cover)
Hollow Heart
Back on the Train (Phish cover)
Slow Train
China Doll (Grateful Dead cover)
Midnight Rider (The Allman Brothers Band cover)
Ain't Nobody Gonna Miss Me (Jimmy Martin & The Osborne Brothers cover)
Love Like Me
Farewell Blues
Long Forgotten Dream
On the Line> Train 45 (The Stanley Brothers cover)

Set 2:
Home of the Red Fox (Bill Emerson cover) > Paul and Silas (The Stanley Brothers cover)
White Dove (The Stanley Brothers cover)
Dust in a Baggie
Away From the Mire
Love Someone Like Me (New Grass Revival cover)
Katy Daley (The Stanley Brothers cover)
Old Train
Turmoil & Tinfoil
Encore: Home


- by Lee Crumpton

- Photos by Willa Stein