Billy Strings is the man.
The Michigan native has taken the music industry by storm, revitalizing bluegrass and bringing new fans into one of country music’s oldest subgenres.
Occupying a unique spot as today’s king of bluegrass, at the nexus of both the country music and jam band scenes, Billy Strings’ traditional yet sonically groundbreaking sound and his otherworldly guitar chops have contributed to his rapid rise in popularity.
Selling out shows in several places abroad and every corner of the country, from legendary venues like the Ryman Auditorium and Georgia Theater to massive arenas, people everywhere have begun to take notice of how electrifying his live performances are. Characterized by heavily improvised jams, his high energy stage presence and a forever rotating setlist that is never repeated, Billy’s live shows are a force to be reckoned with and fans just can’t get enough.
One aspect of his live shows that is significantly more common within the jam band scene than in the country music industry, is the large amount of covers Billy Strings plays in each show. While there is no shortage of his original music at any of his shows, Billy frequently puts his own spin on other artists songs, from traditional bluegrass to modern pop and hip hop, by including several covers in each of his setlists.
This allows him more room to change his setlists each night, adds to the fans’ excitement with an added element of surprise, and gives him the opportunity to add some bluegrass flavor to his favorite songs across all genres.
With that being said, there is a long list of songs Billy Strings has covered.
Some songs and artists get covered more than others in his sets, but nevertheless, the songs he chooses to cover provide great insight into his own musical influences and interests. And, no matter how you look at it, it’s just cool to see Billy Strings absolutely shredding on songs by other artists.
Here are 15 of my favorite covers Billy Strings has played.
“Circles” – Post Malone – Hollywood’s Bleeding (2019)
Performed live in a virtual show from Brooklyn Bowl Nashville in Nashville, TN with Sierra Hull on 7/17/2020.
“Don’t Think Twice” – Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)
“Gotta Jibboo” – Phish – Farmhouse (2000)
Performed live at the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction, VT on 8/3/2021.
“I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” – Merle Haggard – I’m a Lonesome Fugitive (1967)
Performed live with Marcus King from Carter Vintage Guitars in Nashville, TN in April 2019.
“Shakedown Street” – Grateful Dead – Shakedown Street (1978)
Performed live with the String Cheese Incident from Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO on 7/17/2022.
“Someday You’ll Call My Name” – Hank Williams (1955)
Performed live from Copenhangen Vega in Copenhagen, Denmark on 11/30/2022.
“Sweet Revenge” – John Prine – Sweet Revenge (1973)
Performed live from 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville, TN on 7/26/2020.
“The Ballad of Curtis Loew” – Lynyrd Skynyrd – Second Helping (1974)
Performed live from 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville, TN with Anders Beck of Greensky Bluegrass on 7/26/2020.
“Voodoo Chile” – Jimi Hendrix
Performed live from ExploreAsheville.Com Arena in Asheville, NC with Umphrey’s McGee on 2/15/2020.
“War Pigs” – Black Sabbath
Performed Live from his “Away from the Shire” three night Halloween run at ExploreAsheville.com Arena in Asheville, NC on 10/31/2022.
This man don’t miss.