Over the weekend, Billy Strings paid a visit to his constituents in Washington, D.C. with a two-night term at The Anthem. Strings’ return to the arena in our nation’s capital saw back-to-back debuts on the second night.

One night one, Strings and his bandmates Billy Failing (banjo), Jarrod Walker (mandolin), Royal Masat (bass), and Alex Hargreaves (fiddle) threw out some allusions to the lawmakers just up the road, arriving in the first set with a fiery “Wargasm”. Between covers of Bill EmersonRalph StanleyGordon Lightfoot, and more, Strings included an apt run through the traditional “White House Blues” in set two. Strings has performed the cover only one other time, just over a year ago at the same location on November 13th, 2021. “White House Blues” led into one final rebuke of the political ruling class with a transition into the Robert Hunter-penned “Thunder”.

Billy Strings – “The Fire On My Tongue” > “Secrets” [Pro-Shot] – 11/18/22

Later on in the evening, Strings dedicated what would amount to a five-song encore to his dad, Terry Barber, with whom he released an album that day, Me/And/Dad, as well as his mother, Deb Apostol, who is also featured on the collection of covers. The encore consisted entirely of covers found on the album including “Long Journey Home”, “Stone Walls & Steel Bars”, “John Deere Tractor”, “Peartree” and “Dig A Little Deeper In The Well”, ending the show on a wholesome, family-friendly note.

Related: Billy Strings Joins Dopapod For Tour Closer In D.C. With Members Of PPPP & P-Funk [Videos]

For night two, Strings and company returned ready to close out their fall domestic tour dates. After delivering a cover-heavy, 14-song first set, Billy took the stage solo to start the second with a pair of new compositions. First up was an instrumental entitled “Mackinac Rag” that takes a traditional style similar to the other “Rags” (“Black Mountain Rag”, “Beaumont Rag”, etc.). Next came “Catch & Release“, which Billy released as a standalone single last month. Another stylistic experiment, this autobiographical number takes on a talking blues format found in American folk music.

Billy Strings – “Dust In A Baggie”, “A Robin Built A Nest On Daddy’s Grave” (Earl Sykes) [Pro-Shot] – 11/19/22

Billy Strings – “Mackinac Rag”, “Catch & Release”, “Freeborn Man” (Keith Allison, Mark Lindsay) – 11/19/22

[Video: Derek Gobble]

When Billy eventually returned for the encore, he once again took a scaled-down approach as he was joined by only Jarrod for the traditional “Feast Here Tonight (Rabbit In A Log)”. Huddled around a single mic, the two were eventually joined by the rest of the band for “Freedom” and finally Doyle Neikirk and Jimmy Martin‘s “Tennessee”.

Following Saturday night’s show, Billy Strings made his way to the nearby Union Stage to sit in with Dopapod on the group’s tour-closing “Eight Years Ended” encore. For video, photos, and a full rundown of that show, head here.

Check out a gallery of images from D.C. courtesy of photographer Bolt of Sunshine/Josh Hitchens. The two-night run marked Strings’ last U.S. shows until his New Year’s Eve run in New Orleans. In the meantime, he and his bandmates will traverse Europe and the U.K. For tickets and a full list of tour dates visit his website.

Billy Strings – “Wargasm” – 11/18/22

[Video: Troy Laur]

Billy Strings – “Highway Hypnosis” – 11/18/22

[Video: Troy Laur]

Billy Strings – The Anthem – Washington, D.C. – 11/19/22 – Set One – Audio

[Audio: shortiebighead]

Billy Strings – The Anthem – Washington, D.C. – 11/19/22 – Set Two – Audio

[Audio: shortiebighead]

Billy Strings – “Feast Here Tonight (Rabbit In A Log)” (Traditional), “Freedom”, “Tennessee” (Doyle Neikirk, Jimmy Martin) – 11/19/22

[Video: Tyler Williamson]

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Setlist: Billy Strings | The Anthem | Washington, D.C. | 11/18/22

Set One: The Fire On My Tongue > Secrets, West Dakota Rose (Chris Henry), Fire Line, Reuben’s Train (Traditional), Gone A Long Time, Slipstream (Béla Fleck) [1], Hellbender, Wargasm, Home Of The Red Fox (Bill Emerson) > Ridin’ That Midnight Train (Ralph Stanley)

Set Two: Know It All, Heartbeat Of America, Cold On The Shoulder (Gordon Lightfoot), Ernest T. Grass (Ronnie Bowman, Dan Tyminski) > White House Blues (Traditional) [2] > Thunder (Robert Hunter), Show Me The Door, The Old Mountaineer (Bill Monroe), Ain’t Nothing To Me (Leon Payne), Highway Hypnosis

Encore: Long Journey Home (Traditional) [3], Stone Walls & Steel Bars (Roy Marcum, Ray Pennington), John Deere Tractor (Lawrence Hammond), Peartree (Doc Watson, Gaither Carlton), Dig A Little Deeper In The Well (Roger Bowling, Jody Emerson)

[1] Uncle John’s choice

[2] LTP 11/13/21 (118 shows) at The Anthem

[3] Billy dedicated the encore to his father Terry Barber (and his mother Deb Apostol) in honor of their album release today

Setlist: Billy Strings | The Anthem | Washington, D.C. | 11/19/22

Set One: Dust In A Baggie, A Robin Built A Nest On Daddy’s Grave (Earl Sykes), On The Line > Train 45 (Traditional), While I’m Waiting Here, Long Forgotten Dream, I’m Still Here (John Hartford) > Everything’s The Same, Nothing’s Working, New Camptown Races (Frank Wakefield) > Unwanted Love (Reno & Smiley and The Gang), Old Train (Nikki Pedersen, Herb Pedersen), Turmoil & Tinfoil, Uncle Pen (Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys)

Set Two: Mackinac Rag [1] [2], Catch and Release [1] [2], Freeborn Man (Keith Allison, Mark Lindsay), Taking Water > Ice Bridges, Love Like Me, Whisper My Name (Ebo Walker), Hide & Seek, My Alice, Blue Mule (Peter Rowan), This Old World, Bronzeback, Psycho (Eddie Payne), Away From The Mire

Encore: Feast Here Tonight (Rabbit In A Log) [3] (Traditional), Freedom [4], Tennessee [4] (Doyle Neikirk, Jimmy Martin)

[1] FTP- William Apostol
[2] Billy Strings solo
[3] Billy Strings and Jarrod Walker duo, single mic
[4] Single mic