Billy Strings returned to the Bell Auditorium in Augusta, GA on Wednesday to close out a two-night stand. The concert saw the young bluegrass picker cover Phish and put down his guitar for a run on the banjo.
Beginning with the opening holler of “Red Daisy”, Strings and his bandmates Billy Failing (banjo), Jarrod Walker (mandolin), and Royal Masat (bass) offered up a quick “Hellbender” ahead of the reliable sonic exploration of “Hide & Seek”. The first cover of the evening came with Jeff Austin‘s “Rundown” ahead of Billy’s ecological contemplation “Watch It Fall”.
“Fire On My Tongue” bled into “Must Be Seven” as the cover-light first set came to a close with a movement of Tony Rice‘s “Tipper” into “Taking Water” and finally Frank Wakefield‘s “End Of The Rainbow”. The latter cover would emerge as the unlikely recipient of longest jam of the evening.
Returning to the Bell Auditorium stage once again, Strings and company opened things back up with “Dust In A Baggie”. This took a transition into Phish’s “Back On The Train”, a cover not seen since July 31st, 2021 per Billybase. Next came the title track to Strings’ Grammy-winning 2019 album Home, before Billy said farewell to his bandmates for a solo banjo performance of “Georgia Buck”.
Failing, Walker, and Masat then rejoined their fearless leader for a pairing of Bill Emerson‘s “Home Of The Red Fox” and Johnny Horton‘s “Ol’ Slewfoot”. The Renewal stomper “Heartbeat of America” came next, played for only the 11th time since its debut at Billy’s album release festival in Buena Vista, CO on September 25th.
Albert E. Brumley‘s “Rank Stranger” came next ahead of “One The Line” which closed out with a brief snippet of Ralph Stanley‘s “Train 45”. The second set then wrapped with the appropriately eerie “Wargasm”. Taking the Bell Auditorium stage one last time, Billy Strings and his bandmates delivered a modest telling of Bill Monroe‘s “John Hardy” to bid farewell to Augusta.
Full-show audio of Billy Strings at Bell Auditorium on Wednesday is available courtesy of taper Z-man. Scroll down for a collection of fan-shot videos from Billy The Kid. Strings’ tour continues on with a two-night run at Knoxville Civic Auditorium in Tennesee on Friday and Saturday. For tickets and a full list of tour dates click here.
Billy Strings – Bell Auditorium – Augusta, GA – 2/16/22
Billy Strings – “Back On The Train” (Phish) – 2/16/22
Billy Strings – “Georgia Buck” (The Hill Billies) – 2/16/22
Billy Strings – “Heartbeat Of America” – 2/16/22
Setlist: Billy Strings | Bell Auditorium | Augusta, GA | 2/16/22
Set One: Red Daisy, Hellbender, Hide & Seek, Rundown (Jeff Austin), Watch It Fall, Fire On My Tongue > Must Be Seven, Tipper (Tony Rice) > Taking Water > End Of The Rainbow (Frank Wakefield)
Set Two: Dust In A Baggie > Back On The Train (Phish), Home , Georgia Buck (The Hill Billies) , Home Of The Red Fox (Bill Emerson) > Ol’ Slewfoot (Johnny Horton), Heartbeat Of America, Rank Stranger (Albert E. Brumley), On The Line > Train 45 (Ralph Stanley), Wargasm
Encore: John Hardy (Bill Monroe)
 With Jerusalem Ridge Tease
 Billy Strings Solo On The Banjo