What began as a release party for Billy Strings‘ 2021 double LP Renewal entered its second year this past weekend in Buena Vista, CO. The two-day Renewal festival at Cottonwood Meadows featured a pair of two-set performances from the bluegrass picker in addition to a surprise pond-side daytime show. Beyond the headlining sets, Renewal hosted performances from Cris Jacobs Band, The Seldom Scene, Sarah Jarosz, and more.
Billy Strings kicked off the first night of his second annual Renewal with a classic set, weaving together originals like “Know It All”, “Fire Line”, “Show Me The Door”, “Dust In A Baggie”, and many more with covers of Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, Jimmie Skinner, and others. The surprises then came in the second set, where midway through the 12-song frame Strings, Billy Failing (banjo), Royal Masat (bass), Jarrod Walker (mandolin), and Alex Hargreaves (fiddle) debuted a new composition, “My Alice”.
The debut arrived in an almost entirely original second set, which also featured an extended sit-in from Paul Hoffman (Greensky Bluegrass), who provided mandolin on a segue train that rolled through “Highway Hypnosis”, “Pyramid Country”, “Spinning”, and the set-closing “Thunder”. Robert Hunter‘s lyrics to the Billy Strings-composed “Thunder” were the only non-original component of Friday’s second set.
Returning bright and early on Saturday, Strings treated fans to an impromptu pond set. Continuing his pop-up set tradition established with a woods set in 2021, Strings and his bandmates performed an 11-song set from a small island in the middle of a pond that the band accessed via a fishing boat. “They said something about a boat and I said ‘I don’t do gigs on boats’,” Strings told the crowd. “But that was the best entrance ever.”
The quintet performed as other vessels bobbed nearby, with some fans enjoying the show in the water while others watched from the shore. The all-cover set witnessed takes on classics from the likes of Carter Stanley and David Grisman, among others, with Strings picking up the mandolin on a pairing of Tommy Jackson‘s “Big Sandy River” and Bill Monroe‘s “I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky”.
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Back on the mainland later that evening, the penultimate set of the weekend kicked off with a run of cherished originals including a pairing of “While I’m Waiting Here” and”Hide & Seek” alongside “Heartbeat of America” and “In The Morning Light”. Midway through, Strings and company welcomed guitarist Mike Robinson (Railroad Earth) for a double dose of Jeff Austin tributes with “Run Down” and “Fiddling Around”.
The final set of the weekend witnessed more sit-ins and a tribute to the father of bluegrass as Sarah Jarosz joined in on a triplet of Bill Monroe songs: “My Rose Of Old Kentucky”, “Lonesome Moonlight Waltz”, and “Uncle Pen”. With the weekend getaway winding down, Strings mixed in favorites from his own catalog “This Old World” and “Away From The More” alongside Drew Emmitt and Bill Nershi‘s “New Country Blues” and Gordon Lightfoot‘s “Ten Degrees & Getting Colder” before ending his second set with a bang by way of an extended “Turmoil & Tinfoil”.
Finally, Billy Strings finished his time at the 2022 edition of Renewal with a cover of Eamon O’Shea‘s “Katy Daley”. The party wasn’t quite over for the weekend’s host, however, as Strings popped by the late-night Renewal Revue superjam to play electric guitar on favorites from Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead, and more into the wee hours.
Check out a collection of videos from Billy Strings’ 2022 Renewal celebration. He also announced a three-night run at Broomfield, CO’s 1stBank Center February 2nd–4th, 2023. For tickets and a full list of tour dates visit his website.
Billy Strings – “Know It All” > “Sally Goodin” (Traditional) – 9/23/22
Billy Strings – Renewal – Buena Vista, CO – 9/24/22 – Pond Set
[Video: Ben Mecha]
Billy Strings – “Long Forgotten Dream”, “While I’m Waiting Here” > “Hide & Seek” – 9/24/22
Billy Strings – “Heartbeat Of America” – 9/24/22
[Video: Terrible Tom]
Billy Strings – “Ole Slewfoot” (Traditional) – 9/24/22
[Video: Terrible Tom]
Billy Strings and the Renewal Revue – “Red House” (Jimi Hendrix) – 9/24/22
[Video: PA Jim]
Billy Strings and the Renewal Revue – “I Know You Rider” (Traditional) – 9/24/22
[Video: PA Jim]
Setlist: Billy Strings | Cottonwood Meadows | Buena Vista, CO | 9/23/22
Set One: Know It All > Sally Goodin (Traditional), Fire Line > End Of The Rainbow (Frank Wakefield), Gone A Long Time , Show Me The Door, Bronzeback, Bound To Ride (Peter Rowan), Red Daisy, Miss The Mississippi And You (Bill Halley), The Train That Carried My Girl From Town (Traditional) > Black Mountain Rag (Leslie Keith), Love & Regret, Tipper (Tony Rice), Dust In A Baggie, Doin’ My Time (Jimmie Skinner)
Set Two: Meet Me At The Creek, Enough To Leave, Thirst Mutilator > Running, Hellbender, Everything’s The Same, My Alice , Highway Hypnosis, Must Be Seven  > Pyramid Country  > Spinning  > Thunder (Robert Hunter) 
Encore: Freeborn Man (Keith Allison, Mark Lindsay)
 “Going to Renewal for two nights in a row” lyric change
 FTP – New original
 With Paul Hoffman on mandolin
Setlist: Billy Strings | Cottonwood Meadows | Buena Vista, CO | 9/24/22 (Day Pond Set)
Set: How Mountain Girls Can Love (Carter Stanley) > Remington Ride (Hank Penny, Herb Remington), I Only Exist (Joyce Morris, Jimmie Stanley), Unwanted Love (Harry Leftwich, Don Reno, Red Smiley), Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down (Traditional), Eat My Dust (David Grisman), Last Train From Poor Valley (Norman Blake), Salt Creek (Traditional) > Big Sandy River (Tommy Jackson)  > I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky (Bill Monroe)  > Sunny Side Of The Mountain (Harry C. McAuliffe, Bobby Gregory)
 Billy Strings on mandolin
Setlist: Billy Strings | Cottonwood Meadows | Buena Vista, CO | 9/24/22
Set One: Long Forgotten Dream, While I’m Waiting Here > Hide & Seek, Hollow Heart, Heartbeat Of America, In The Morning Light, Whisper My Name (Ebo Walker), Run Down (Jeff Austin) , Fiddling Around (Jeff Austin, John Scott Sherrill) , Ernest T. Grass (Ronnie Bowman, Dan Tyminski)  > Secrets , Nothing’s Working, Cold On The Shoulder (Gordon Lightfoot), On The Line > Train 45 (Traditional)
Set Two: The Fire On My Tongue > Ole Slewfoot (Traditional), Watch It Fall, The Old Mountaineer (Bill Monroe), Home, Tall Pines (Damon Black) , My Rose Of Old Kentucky (Bill Monroe) , Lonesome Moonlight Waltz (Bill Monroe) , Uncle Pen (Bill Monroe) , This Old World, Away From The Mire, New Country Blues (Drew Emmitt, Bill Nershi), Ten Degrees & Getting Colder (Gordon Lightfoot), Turmoil & Tinfoil
Encore: Katy Daley (Eamon O’Shea)
 With Mike Robinson on guitar
 With Sarah Jarosz on mandolin and vocals
 With Sarah Jarosz on mandolin