Billy Strings arrived in Dayton, OH on Wednesday to kick off his summer tour at Rose Music Center at The Heights. Amidst sweltering heat that entered triple digits, Strings and company delivered an equally sweltering performance featuring debuts and special guest fiddler Alex Hargreaves.
The fiddle player was with Strings, Billy Failing (banjo), Jarrod Walker (mandolin), and Royal Masat (bass) as they lit the fuse on Wednesday’s show with “Red Daisy” off 2021’s Renewal. Strings proceeded to link up a pair of relevant originals with “Fire Line” and “Thirst Mutilator”, bridging the two with a dark jam and keeping the continuous sequence moving by tacking on a transition into “Hollow Heart”. The Renewal tracks continued with “Nothing’s Working” ahead of the first cover of the evening, “Dusty Miller”.
With everyone good and warmed up to a medically concerning degree, Strings and his extended lineup fired up the blades on John Hartford‘s whirly pigs with “All Fall Down”. The expansive jam heard Billy applying layers of distortion to his acoustic guitar in a break from some of the more traditional elements presented thus far in Dayton.
The following “Love & Regret” served as a welcome cool-down ahead of the first debut of the evening with the traditional “Maggie Walker Blues”. After that, an emphatic yet concise run through “Dust In A Baggie” sent the crowd into set break.
Billy Strings – “Dust In A Baggie” – 6/15/22
[Video: Mike Butcher]
Billy Strings – Rose Music Center – Dayton, OH – 6/15/22
Related: Marty Stuart’s Late Night Jam Returns With Billy Strings, Marcus King, Emmylou Harris, More At The Ryman [Videos]
Coming back out for set two, Billy Strings brought “Uncle Pen” off the shelf for the first time since 11/21/18, when he debuted the Bill Monroe cover in Manistee, MI, per Billybase. “Secrets” eased fans into the second set, with the breezy Renewal track blowing in as the sun began to take mercy on southwestern Ohio. Break time was over after that with a stomping “Heartbeat of America”, with Hargreaves dutifully able to recreate the fiddle fills provided by John Mailander on Renewal.
“In The Morning Light” brought the sentimentality back around ahead of a rollicking sing-along of Bob Dylan‘s “Tangled Up In Blue”. The Blood On The Tracks classic led into the second and final debut of the evening with the traditional “Cattle In The Cain”. The title track to 2019’s Home followed ahead of one of Strings’ growing number of signature songs, “Away From The Mire”. The somber reflection of a frayed fraternal relationship took a detour into Greensky Bluegrass‘ “Reverend” before a returning segue led back to the final refrain to close set two.
Taking the Rose Music Center stage once more, Strings and company offered another John Hartford selection with “Steam Powered Aero Plane” before “Everything’s The Same” finished the show.
Billy Strings – “Steam Powered Aereo Plane” (John Hartford), “Everything’s The Same” – 6/15/22
Full-show audio of Wednesday’s Billy Strings show in Dayton is available thanks to taper Jim Mal.
Billy Strings – Rose Music Center at The Heights – Dayton, OH – 6/15/22 – Full Audio
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Setlist [via Billybase]: Billy Strings | Rose Music Center at The Heights | Dayton, OH | 6/15/22
Set One: Red Daisy, Fire Line > Thirst Mutilator > Hollow Heart, Nothing’s Working, Dusty Miller (Traditional), All Fall Down (John Hartford), Love & Regret, Maggie Walker Blues (Traditional) , Dust In A Baggie
Set Two: Uncle Pen (Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys) , Secrets, Heartbeat Of America, In The Morning Light, Tangled Up In Blue (Bob Dylan) > Cattle In The Cain (Traditional) , Home, Away From The Mire > Reverend (Greensky Bluegrass) > Away From The Mire
Encore: Steam Powered Aereo Plane (John Hartford), Everything’s The Same
 LTP 11/21/18