On Friday, in the first moments of the antemeridian, Billy Strings released the lead single “Fire Line” from his forthcoming album Renewal, accompanied by an official lyric video. Renewal is out on September 24th via Rounder Records.
The gentle humming of John Mailander‘s violin sets the mood for this contemplative ballad before Strings quickly joins with his rumbling guitar licks, and Billy Failing follows suit shortly after on the banjo. The gravity of the song is apparent right away as Strings solemnly leads us through the opening lines. Meanwhile, Royal Masat maintains a steady rhythm for the crew on bass, as Jarrod Walker chimes in tastefully on mandolin.
The video shows a dark enchanted forest of trees with flames slowly engulfing them, and silhouettes of oil pumps going up and down endlessly. The lyrics tell the listener of the woes of the oil industry and its negative effect on the environment, but also how our dependency on oil is what keeps us going down a destructive path. Debuted on 2/23/21 during the DeJa Vu Experiment streaming series, the record-breaking fires the West experienced last year were no doubt an inspiration in Strings’ new single “Fire Line.”
“And when the work is done and the Devil’s called his time/You’ll feel a sterile breeze, that blows through ashen pine,” the bluegrass phenom reflects.
Lyrics like “It’s a poison dream, it’s what gets me through the night, I’ll take it all, and then some more” and “Behind the line you hold, you can only hold so long. When you see my forked tongue, and you hear my twisted song” hint at oil as being a seemingly necessary evil, but at what cost? “A question I might ask, if I could stop and wonder why,” a lyric reflective of how most people are so busy trying to keep up in day-to-day life that they don’t have time time to contemplate the long-term effects of our decisions.
As the song comes to an end and the instruments slowly fade out, we are left in high anticipation for the release of the full album Renewal due on September 24th. A description of Strings’ third full-length LP reads,
Serving as a reflection of Strings’ own musical influences, Renewal reaches well beyond bluegrass with elements of heavy metal, jam bands, psychedelic music and classic rock – even though it’s still primarily an acoustic record. Guided by producer Jonathan Wilson (Roger Waters, Father John Misty), Billy Strings and his road band were given the space to explore new textures and unusual instrumentation on the album, resulting in a more expansive sound that still embraces his roots. A Michigan native who’s lived in Nashville since 2015, Strings is also sharing a more personal and honest point of view on Renewal, with a writing credit on 13 of its tracks.
Watch the new music video for “Fire Line” by Billy Strings via the player below or listen to the song on your preferred streaming service. Scroll down to see a full tracklist and album artwork for Renewal, available here for pre-order.
Billy Strings – “Fire Line” (Official Video)
[Video: Billy Strings]