Marcus King and Billy Strings joined forces for a first-time-ever collaboration at the Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival at Pop’s Farm in Martinsville, Virginia this weekend. Billed as “King & Strings“, progressive bluegrass ace Billy Strings and his band, consisting of bassist Royal Masat, banjo player Billy Failing, and mandolinist Jarrod Walker, welcomed young southern rock/blues star Marcus King and legendary drummer Jeff Sipe (Aquarium Rescue Unit) for the after-midnight set.
According to the event organizer, “The impetus of the idea came from last year’s Rooster Walk, when guitarist Eric Krasno was the only member of his band who made it to the festival due to severe storms that canceled flights across the country. In a pinch, Billy Strings and his band backed up Krasno on stage. The resulting set, though completely off the cuff and unrehearsed, was one of the most talked about from the entire weekend at Pop’s Farm.”
While the collaboration between Marcus King and Billy Strings was premeditated, both artists intentionally planned to keep things loose and unscripted. The two young guitar wizards hadn’t met prior to the event, but they both agreed that a melding of the bluegrass and blues worlds would be an exciting way to fill two hours of music.
The King & Strings late-night set included songs from both artists’ respective catalogs—highlighting both their refined skills. The performances also featured covers of Merle Haggard’s “Swinging Doors”, the Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See”, Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode”, Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”, Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild”, Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times”, Johnny Winter’s “I’m Yours & I’m Hers”, Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful,” Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf”, Felice & Boudleaux Bryant’s “Rocky Top”, Rick Derringer’s “Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo”, and more, all strung together by instrumental communication between the six stellar musicians onstage.
Thanks to hoppedup, you can listen to the full show’s audio below.
King & Strings – Full-Show Audio – 5/25/18
You can also watch the full show’s video below, courtesy of pieceofwork35.