Billy Strings kicked off a three-night run at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium Friday night. The burgeoning bluegrass torchbearer was joined by guitarist Bryan Sutton for a short duo performance between sets.
Following a first set that included the traditional “Man Of Constant Sorrow”, several Billy Strings originals, and covers of Greensky Bluegrass, Newgrass Revival, and J.J. Cale, mandolinist Jarrod Walker, bassist Royal Masat, and banjoist Billy Failing exited the stage, but their bandleader decided to forgo the usual set break to welcome Bryan Sutton for a short duo set.
The set began with renditions of the traditional “Beaumont Rag” and “I’m Coming Back But I Don’t Know When” by Bill Monroe, whose statue stands outside The Ryman. The pair then performed “Salty Sheep” off of 2017’s Turmoil & Tinfoil, which draws from the traditionals “Salt Creek” and “Sheep In The Meadow”, and they wrapped up the spontaneous collaboration with “Tom Dooley” and a cover Doc Watson’s “Way Downtown”.
Billy Strings has acknowledged Bryan Sutton as not just an influence, but a “huge inspiration” as a guitarist. The two have performed together frequently over the past several years, but Friday’s sit in came as a delightful surprise for those in attendance.
The second set proceeded with lively readings of “Wargasm” and Monroe’s “Southern Flavor”. Next came “Dealing Despair”, “Show Me The Door”, “Secret”, Doc and Merle Watson’s arrangement of “Red Rocking Chair”, and “Slow Train”. The band concluded the set with “Ernest T. Grass”, which led into “Ole Slewfoot”, and the title track from Turmoil & Tinfoil served as the encore.
Billy Strings will return to The Ryman Auditorium tonight, Saturday, May 7th and tomorrow, Sunday, May 8th. To view additional tour dates and ticketing information, click here. Watch videos from Friday’s concert below.
Billy Strings Feat. Bryan Sutton – “Beaumont Rag” – 5/6/22
Billy Strings Feat. Bryan Sutton – “Salty Sheep” – 5/6/22
Billy Strings – “Man Of Constant Sorrow”, “Everything’s The Same”, “While I’m Waiting Here” – 5/6/22
Billy Strings – “Ride Me High” – 5/6/22
Setlist (via BillyBase) | The Ryman Auditorium | Nashville, TN | 5/6/22
Set: Man Of Constant Sorrow, Everything’s The Same, While I’m Waiting Here  > Pyramid Country > Letter To Seymour, Nothing’s Working, Red Daisy, Love Like Me, Whisper My Name, Ride Me High > Away From The Mire, Beaumont Rag , I’m Coming Back But I Don’t Know When , Salty Sheep , Tom Dooley , Way Downtown , Wargasm, Southern Flavor > Dealing Despair, Show Me The Door, Secrets, Red Rocking Chair , Slow Train, Ernest T. Grass > Ole Slewfoot
Encore: Turmoil & Tinfoil
 Cumberland Reel tease
 Billy Strings and Bryan Sutton duo
 Doc and Merle Watson arrangement