Fishing enthusiast and guitar picker extraordinaire Billy Strings debuted a cover of Widespread Panic‘s “Fishing” during his set at Beach Road Weekend Music Festival in Vineyard Haven, MA on Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday.
Strings steered his band featuring bassist Royal Masat, fiddler Alex Hargreaves, mandolinist Jarrod Walker, and banjoist Billy Failing through calm waters at the start of their 75-minute set, floating through a show-opening version of the traditional “Train on the Island” and original compositions including “Highway Hypnosis”, “While I’m Waiting Here”, “Hide and Seek”, “Fire on My Tongue”, and “Secrets”. Then, in the middle of the set, the bandleader and avid fisherman cast his line and reeled in the second Widespread Panic cover to enter his live catalog, “Fishing” (the first being “All Time Low”).
“Fishing” originally debuted on Widespread Panic’s 2003 studio album Ball—the band’s first release after the death of Michael Houser. The tune has become a rarity for its originators—not played live since 2/10/16, per Everyday Companion—but it received new life from Billy Strings and company much to the delight of the festival audience. Notably, Strings has sat in with Widespread Panic twice before, including once in 2019 at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN and again at Mempho Music Festival in 2021.
The bluegrass ensemble then continued the set with “Ice Bridges”, “Away From the Mire”, a cover of George Gershwin‘s “Summertime”, and “Hellbender” before capping the performance with fan favorite “Dust in a Baggie”.
Watch fan-shot video of Billy Strings playing “Fishing” and “Ice Bridges” at Beach Road Weekend below.
Billy Strings – “Fishing” (Widespread Panic) > “Ice Bridges” – 8/27/22
[Video: Amy Karibian]
Setlist [via Billybase.net]: Billy Strings | Beach Road Weekend Music Festival | Veterans Memorial Park | Vineyard Haven, MA | 8/27/22
Set: Train on the Island (Traditional), Highway Hypnosis, While I’m Waiting Here > Hide and Seek, The Fire on My Tongue > Secrets, Fishing (Widespread Panic)  > Ice Bridges, Away From the Mire, Summertime (George Gershwin), Hellbender, Dust in a Baggie
 First time played.