On Saturday, October 3rd, bluegrass phenom Billy Strings took part in Democracy Comes Alive, a one-day, nonpartisan virtual music festival aimed at channeling the power of music to make a critical impact on civic engagement in this November’s elections and beyond. For their appearance with his eponymous band during the all-day virtual event, Billy and company performed an airtight take on “Taking Water” with full stage production.

Draped in shadows courtesy of lighting designer Roger Gant, the band—comprised of Billy Strings (guitar/vocals), Billy Failing on banjo, Royal Masat on bass, and Jarrod Walker on mandolin—dove into the opening track from 2019’s HOME. While brief—shorter, even, than the version of the song that opens the album—the Democracy Comes Alive performance of the wistful “Taking Water” still managed to showcase the stellar songwriting, individual musicianship, group cohesion, and stunning live show that makes Billy Strings one of the hottest acts on the road. Minding back porch etiquette, the song eventually moved into a breakdown and passed an eight-bar solo around the horn, emphasizing the fact that this band is about much more than its frontman.

Watch Billy Strings perform “Taking Water” at Democracy Comes Alive below. If you enjoyed the performance and have the means, consider making a donation to HeadCount and the Democracy Comes Alive artists via www.DemocracyComesAlive.com.

Billy Strings – “Taking Water” – Democracy Comes Alive

In recent months, Billy and company have been active in exploring the pandemic-safe performance options available to artists during this strangest time. In addition to mounting the Streaming Strings tour of various empty venues in Nashville and taking part in virtual gigs like slots on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and the Grand Ole Opry‘s streaming series—during which he debuted a new song about the Grand Ole Opry—the band recently headed out on a run of socially-distanced drive-in shows. Late last month, they celebrated the one-year anniversary of HOME with a three-set live stream from a vacant Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Billy Strings joined 50+ performers and 10+ other speakers as part of Democracy Comes Alive, presented by Live For Live Music in partnership with voter registration nonprofit HeadCount. The 10-hour streaming event, powered by Nugs.TV and Plus 1, generated $40,000 and counting in funds for HeadCount as well as the participating artists, who remain out of work as the pandemic continues. In addition to the funds generated, Democracy Comes Alive led thousands of people to HeadCount’s tools to check your voter registration status and register to vote. For more information, head here.