Matt Hatfield

Matt Hatfield

Music Review Columnist

Off The Beaten Path – Billy Strings

Michigan born bluegrass guitar phenom Billy Strings is taking the music world by storm. I know when some people hear the word “bluegrass”, pre-conceived notions come to mind. However, make no mistake about it, this ain’t your grandaddy’s ‘grass. 


His last album ‘Home’, released in 2019, showcases his eclectic influences and the title track features a jaw dropping electric guitar solo. It also nabbed this year’s Grammy award for Best Bluegrass Album. ‘Home’ is easily in my top five favorite records of all time. Tracks to start with are ‘Away From The Mire’, ‘Home’, and ‘Watch It Fall’. 

Billy isn’t the only talent you hear in these recordings. His now long time band of Royal Masat on standup bass, Billy Failing on banjo, and Jarrod Walker on mandolin are all world class musicians in their own right. In fact the group plays so well together most fans say Billy could do an entire show without singing a word and still keep the audience captivated. 


His new album Renewal drops September 24th. So far two drastically different singles have dropped. ‘Wargasm’ is a powerful commentary on the ills of war and in a move almost unheard in the bluegrass world features an appearance from rapper RMR. 

By far my favorite song is the newest single ‘In The Morning Light’. A touching love song about finding a love so powerful you feel almost unworthy. This one brought me to tears at first listen. 

The bottom line: if you’re not listening to Billy Strings yet, you should absolutely start now. A great chance to catch the band live from the comfort of your own home is coming up via an Austin City Limits performance due to air October 23rd.