Billy Strings took his fall tour to The Anthem on Saturday night for a sold-out, one-off show in Washington, D.C. The show saw a variety of covers and originals, with some dating back to Strings’ 2016, self-titled EP.
Strings, Billy Failing (banjo), Royal Masat (bass), and Jarrod Walker (mandolin) kicked things off with the first of two Bill Monroe covers, “White House Blues”. A run through “Hide and Seek”—which appears on Strings’ 2021 album, Renewal—set up the second and final Monroe cover of the evening, “A Good Woman’s Love”.
Up next, Strings and his band channeled another iconic bluegrass Bill, this time launching into Bill Emerson‘s “Home of the Red Fox”. Little did The Anthem audience know when Failing plucked the opening lines on his banjo, this would be the meatiest jam of the first frame. Over the next 19-plus minutes, Strings and company explored new territory during a lengthy jam session that eventually found its place in “Must Be Seven”, a cut from 2019’s Home. The band continued the “Must Be Seven” jam for several more minutes before a round of applause set up another Home song, “Watch It Fall”. Two more Renewal tracks came next, “Red Daisy” and “Love And Regret”, ahead of a cover of Chris Henry‘s “West Dakota Rose”. Strings, Failing, Masat, and Walker then closed out the first set with New Grass Revival‘s “This Heart of Mine”, which segued to the Strings original, “Everything’s The Same”.
Back for more, Billy Strings kept the cover train rolling with Danny Barnes‘ “Pretty Daughter”. Some expansive improvisation on this seven-minute cover led to a two-hole take on “This Old World”. A pick from Doc Watson‘s catalog, “The Train That Carried My Girl From Town”, made its way to the traditional standard, “Black Mountain Rag”, which appeared on Strings’ 2016, self-titled EP.
The band then strung together several originals to form the meat of set two, starting with “Hellbender” and a dark, exploratory “Highway Hypnosis”. A 12-minute telling of Failing’s “So Many Miles” segued to “Running The Route”, propping up a reminiscent recounting of “Long Forgotten Dream”. A romp through the John Philips-penned Grateful Dead standard, “Me and My Uncle”, then fell before a cover of The Dillards‘ “The Old Home Place”. This far-reaching section served as a springboard for a set-ending sandwich of “Meet Me At The Creek”, filled with J.J. Cale‘s “Ride Me High”. This 15-minute chronicling left time for a short encore, the Home original, “Freedom”.
Billy Strings’ tour continues this week with shows in Portland, ME (11/15–11/16) and Boston, MA (11/17). For a full list of upcoming tour dates, head here. Scroll down for a setlist, photos, videos, and a full audio recording from Saturday night in Washington, D.C.
Setlist: Billy Strings | The Anthem | Washington, D.C. | 11/13/21
Set One: White House Blues (Bill Monroe), Hide And Seek, A Good Woman’s Love (Bill Monroe), Home of the Red Fox (Bill Emerson) > Must Be Seven, Watch It Fall, Red Daisy, Love And Regret, West Dakota Rose (Chris Henry), This Heart of Mine (New Grass Revival) > Everything’s The Same
Set Two: Pretty Daughter (Danny Barnes), This Old World, The Train That Carried My Girl From Town (Doc Watson) > Black Mountain Rag, Hellbender, Highway Hypnosis, So Many Miles > Running The Route, Long Forgotten Dream, Me and My Uncle (John Philips), The Old Home Place, Meet Me At The Creek > Ride Me High (J.J. Cale) > Meet Me At The Creek
Billy Strings – The Anthem – Washington, D.C. – 11/13/21 – Full Audio
[Audio: Alex Leary]
Billy Strings – “Hide And Seek” – 11/13/21
[Video: Loma Deren]
Billy Strings – “Prett Daughter” (Danny Barnes) – 11/13/21
[Video: Ben Wilson]
Billy Strings – “Long Forgotten Dream” – 11/13/21
[Video: Loma Deren]
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