While the world was turning its calendar to 2024, jamgrass golden boy Billy Strings was way ahead of him as he jumped to 3000 with a Casio DG-20 synth guitar-assisted “Auld Lang Syne” to ring in the new year. Strings also debuted three new original songs along the 38-s0ng, three-set show—one each set—in New Orleans which spanned over four and a half hours all told.

While some other bands might opt for more how we say, theatrical, New Year’s Eve spectacle, the Muir, MI-born mutilator of the six-strings opted for a, for the most part, straight-ahead ass-kicking show over than an emphasis on theatrics. The 13-song first set contained only three covers, an anomaly for the progressive follower who is always diligent to tip his cap to the likes of Bill MonroeThe Stanley BrothersDoc Watson, and the other pillars of bluegrass, along with more modern influences.

Billy Strings – “The Fire On My Tongue” > “Bronzeback”, “Watch It Fall” – 12/31/23

Strings’ first new song debut of the night came six songs into the show with the pensive, reflective “7 Weeks in County” about reckoning with one’s actions while sitting behind stone walls and steel bars. Other than that, he showed off the original songwriting voice that has made him a crossover genre star, who this year expanded to a three-night run at the Crescent City’s 10,000-capacity UNO Lakefront Arena. A pairing of “The Fire On My Tongue” and “Bronzeback” set the evening ablaze right out of the gate, with other favorites like “Watch It Fall”, “Home”, “Long Forgotten Dream”, and “Thirst Mutilator” filling out the brisk-paced first frame.

Billy Strings – “7 Weeks In County” – 12/31/23

[Video: Doug Heck]

Billy’s commitment to originality continued through the second set, which featured four covers out of a total ten songs. The frame saw Strings, Billy FailingJarrod WalkerAlex Hargreaves, and Royal Masat stretch out with extended runs like the opening “Taking Water” > “Ice Bridges”, a twisty “Turmoil & Tinfoil”, and a closing trio of Eddie Payne‘s “Psycho” > “Pyramid Country” > Johnny Horton‘s “Ole Slewfoot”. Along the way, Strings snuck in another new creation with the debut of his original “In the Clear” which he taught to his bandmates a mere two hours before showtime. The song is another that draws on Strings’ tumultuous upbringing in impoverished rural Michigan, surrounded by drugs, death, and despair, but the song is hopeful in nature as Billy looks forward to the day he is finally “In The Clear”.

Billy Strings – “In The Clear” – 12/31/23

[Video: Doug Heck]

Taking the stage for the final set with Bill Emerson‘s “Home of the Red Fox”, the band counted down the final moments of 2023. As the clock struck midnight, Strings reinforced his sterling reputation for continuously putting new modern twists on old traditions as he donned his Casio DG-20 synth guitar for the ball drop staple “Auld Lang Syne”.

The last new song of the night, “Richard Petty”, got its debut with the band gathered around a single mic, after which the band finished strong with tributes to Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Pink FloydWillie Nelson, and The Moody Blues as well as bluegrass pioneers The Delmore Brothers, Reno and Smiley, and Jimmy Martin.

Billy Strings – “Richard Petty” – 12/31/23

[Video: Doug Heck]

Check out additional video highlights from Billy Strings’ New Year’s Eve show below, and scroll down to view the full setlist.

Strings will return to the road at the end of February for a run of winter tour dates. For a complete list of his upcoming shows and to purchase tickets, visit his website.

Billy Strings – “Be Your Man” – 12/31/23

[Video: Doug Heck]

Billy Strings – “Nobody’s Love Is Like Mine” – 12/31/23

[Video: Doug Heck]

Setlist: Billy Strings | UNO Lakefront Arena | New Orleans, LA | 12/31/23

Set One: The Fire On My Tongue > Bronzeback, Watch It Fall, Katy Daley (Eamon O’Shea), Home, 7 Weeks in County [1], Highway Hypnosis [2], My Alice, Long Forgotten Dream, The Old Mountaineer (Bill Monroe), Be Your Man, Thirst Mutilator > Slow Train

Set Two: Taking Water > Ice Bridges, Sophronie (Alton Delmore), In the Clear [1], Turmoil & Tinfoil, Show Me The Door, Nobody’s Love Is Like Mine [3] (Carter Stanley), Psycho (Leon Payne) > Pyramid Country > Ole Slewfoot (Johnny Horton)

Set Three: Home Of The Red Fox (Bill Emerson) [4] > Auld Lang Syne (Traditional) 3000 [5] [6], Know It All, Richard Petty [1] [7], Love and Regret, Pretty Daughter (Bad Livers), Fearless (Pink Floyd), Libby Phillips Rag, Hands On The Wheel (Bill Callery), Blues Stay Away From Me (Delmoren Brothers), Meet Me At The Creek, Old Man At The Mill (Clarence Ashley), Nights In White Satin (Moody Blues), I’m Gone, Long Gone (Don Reno), Tennessee (Jimmy Martin)

[1] FTP – Original
[2] “Death Trip” tease (Bad Livers)
[3] Jarrad Walker on lead vocals
[4] Countdown to the new year ran on the screens behind the band and confetti canons were shot at midnight
[5] FTP on Casio
[6] Billy on Casio DG-20 Synth guitar
[7] Billy Strings, Billy Failing, Royal Masat, Jarrod Walker around single mic