The fastest-growing name in bluegrass, Billy Strings, has been taking the world by storm over the past year. In addition to his gift for pickin’ a six-string and a voice tailor-made for bluegrass, Strings has a knack for selecting the perfect covers and making them his own. The latest example of this came on Thursday night (1/23) at Mars Music Hall in Huntsville, AL when Billy and his band debuted their rendition of “Also Sprach Zarathrustra”—the Richard Strauss-composed theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey that’s been covered by countless acts through the years.

Related: Billy Strings Announces ‘Family Strings’ Mini-Tour With His Father, Terry Barber

After opening with a cover of Lead Belly‘s “Alabama Bound”—a hat tip of sorts to the Alabama crowd he found himself performing to—the quartet made their way through the 2019 Home track, “Taking Water”. The band, comprised of Royal Masat (bass), Billy Failing (banjo), and Jarrod Walker (mandolin), then cycled through a few covers including The Stanley Brothers‘ “How Mountain Girls Can Love”, Jimmy Cliff‘s “Sitting In Limbo”, and New Grass Revival‘s “This Heart of Mine”.

Billy Strings – “This Heart of Mine” – 1/23/20

[Video: Music City Maven]

Midway through set one they launched into a nearly 13-minute “Highway Hypnosis” sandwich filled by the Turmoil & Tinfoil track, “Spinning”.

Billy Strings – “Highway Hypnosis” > “Spinning” > “Highway Hypnosis” – 1/23/20

[Video: Music City Maven]

Covers of Widespread Panic‘s “All Time Low”, Charlie Monroe‘s “Rosa Lee McFall”, and Bill Emerson‘s “Home of the Red Fox” led to the highlight of the first set, a spaced-out bluegrass-inspired take on “Also Sprach Zarathustra”. They followed this up with a set-ending cover of Johnny Horton‘s “Ole Slew-Foot”.

Billy Strings – “Home of the Red Fox” > “Also Sprach Zarathustra” > “Ole Slew-Foot” – 1/23/20

[Video: Music City Maven]

Set two began with the original “Tipper” followed by a cover of John Hartford‘s “I’m Still Here” which segued to a cover of The Monkees‘ “Last Train to Clarksville”. After a monstrous “Thirst Mutilator” and “So Many Miles” segued to the fan-favorite “Dust in a Baggie”, the four-piece drove into a cover of Jerry Garcia & David Grisman‘s “Dreadful Wind and Rain”.

The second half of set two contained covers of Doc Watson‘s “The Train That Carried My Girl From Town”, Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys‘ “My Sweet Blue-Eyed Darlin'”, and The Doc Watson Family‘s “And Am I Born to Die?” on either side of the originals “Hot Sauce” and “Must Be Seven”.

Billy Strings closed out his performance at Mars Music Hall with the title track off the 2016 release Turmoil & Tinfoil before encoring with a cover of The Infamous Stringduster‘s “No More to Leave You Behind”.

Listen to the entire performance below:

Billy Strings – Mars Music Hall – 1/23/20 – Full Audio

[Audio: Keith Litzenberger]

Next up for Billy Strings is a show at Tipitina’s in New Orleans, LA tonight, January 24th. This show will be webcast for free via Head to Billy Strings’ official website for tickets and more tour information.

Setlist: Billy Strings | Mars Music Hall | Huntsville, AL | 1/23/20

Set One: Alabama Bound[1], Taking Water, How Mountain Girls Can Love[2], Sitting in Limbo[3], This Heart of Mine[4], Highway Hypnosis > Spinning > Highway Hypnosis, All Time Low[5], Rosa Lee McFall[6], Home of the Red Fox[7] > Also Sprach Zarathustra[8] > Ole Slew-Foot[9]

Set Two: Tipper, I’m Still Here[10], Last Train to Clarksville[11], Thirst Mutilator > So Many Miles > Dust in a Baggie, Dreadful Wind and Rain[12], The Train That Carried My Girl From Town[13] > Hot Sauce > Must Be Seven, My Sweet Blue-Eyed Darlin'[14], And Am I Born to Die?[15], Turmoil & Tinfoil

Encore: No More to Leave You Behind[16]


[1] Lead Belly

[2] The Stanley Brothers

[3] Jimmy Cliff

[4] New Grass Revival

[5] Widespread Panic

[6] Charlie Monroe

[7] Bill Emerson

[8] Robert Strauss

[9] Johnny Horton

[10] John Hartford

[11] The Monkees

[12] Jerry Garcia & David Grisman

[13] Doc Watson

[14] Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys

[15] The Doc Watson Family

[16] The Infamous Stringdusters

View Setlist