Billy Strings joined up with Willie Nelson‘s traveling Outlaw Music Festival at Ameris Bank Amphitheatre in Alpharetta, GA on Friday, performing alongside a lineup featuring Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit, Charley Crockett, Larkin Poe, and Particle Kid. The Grammy-winning guitarist debuted a cover of Widespread Panic‘s “Pickin’ Up The Pieces” during his set and sat in with festival headliner and host Willie Nelson on “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” and ”I’ll Fly Away” later in the night.

Billy Strings made his debut at Outlaw Music Festival, which kicked off earlier this summer at the end of June, alongside his trusty bandmates bassist Royal Masat, fiddler Alex Hargreaves, mandolinist Jarrod Walker, and banjoist Billy Failing. The five-piece string band delivered a 13-song set that featured nods to the state of Georgia including a cover of “Bringing In The Georgia Mail”. The set also included fan favorites “Highway Hypnosis” and “Hide & Seek”, from 2019’s Home and 2021’s Renewal, respectively, and covers of The Stanley Brothers’ “Rank Stranger” and Eddie Noack‘s “Psycho”.

One of the highlights of the set was the band’s bluegrass cover of “Pickin’ Up The Pieces” by Georgia’s own Widespread Panic. The song was the third by Widespread Panic to appear in a Billy Strings setlist, having been preceded by “All Time Low” and “Fishing”. The band closed its set with a cover of Bill Monroe‘s “Uncle Pen”.

Billy Strings returned to the stage later in the evening to join Willie Nelson & Family for a medley of “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” and “I’ll Fly Away”. At one point, Lucas Nelson offered his instrument to Strings for a rare electric guitar solo. The collaboration also featured contributions from Jason Isbell, Charley Crockett, and Larkin Poe’s Rebecca and Megan Lovell.

Watch fan-shot videos of Billy Strings covering “Pickin’ Up The Pieces” by Widespread Panic and sitting in with Willie Nelson on “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” and “I’ll Fly Away” below, and scroll down to view a gallery of photos from Outlaw Music Festival courtesy of photographer Emily Butler.

Strings will continue on tour with Outlaw Music Festival alongside a rotating lineup that will also feature Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Brittney Spencer, and The Avett Brothers for shows in Charlotte, NC (9/10); Virginia Beach, VA (9/11); Bridgeport, CT (9/13); Mansfield, MA (9/16); and Saratoga Springs, NY (9/18). He will then hop off the lineup beginning at Merriweather Post Pavillion on September 17th and for all dates after September 18th. For a full list of dates and lineups and to purchase tickets, visit the festival website.

Willie Nelson Ft. Billy Strings, Jason Isbell, Charley Crockett, & Rebecca & Megan Lovell – “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?”/”I’ll Fly Away” – 9/9/22

[Video: Reno]

Billy Strings – “Pickin’ Up The Pieces” (Widespread Panic) – 9/9/22