What is certain is that we live in the era of Billy Strings. What this young man and his band are doing when they pick up the microphones in churches across the country is unworldly. You want to do it with Jimi Hendrix or The Grateful Dead or Phish in their prime or maybe J.D. Compare Crow and The New South when Tony Rice was in the band. But these may not even be appropriate comparisons. Billy Strings is just so good.
Of course, capturing that electrical magic in the studio is another thing, like most off-grid bands. This is not supposed to be because of Billy's recorded output, but it certainly presents a unique challenge that he will be tackling again with his new album Renewal, which will be released on September 24th.
"I called my last album 'Home' and a few months later we all got stuck there," says Strings. “At the moment we're on our way again, to open up again and to tour even more with real concerts and real shows. Hopefully we can renew everything. I think it's an interesting word. It reminds me how every morning is a new day and a new opportunity. "
Billy String is one of the few artists to see his star catch fire during the pandemic, put on some now legendary streaming shows, and win a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album. Together with producer Jonathan Wilson, he will try to keep this momentum going.
“After I won the Grammy, I went into the studio with a newfound confidence. And was inspired by Jonathan's studio and vibe. I dared more than ever to experiment and push myself musically … I learned that you just have to let the song do it. That's what I'm trying to do – write songs and let them come out like they do. "
Billy Strings wrote 13 of Renewal's 16 songs and worked on the mandolin with road band ion banjoist Billy Failing, bassist Royal Masat and Jarrod Walker. He also brought in guests John Mailander on fiddle and Spencer Cullum Jr. on pedal steel. Although the foundation will continue to be bluegrass, folks who have been following Billy Strings for a while will be adding elements of rock, heavy metal, and psychedelic music to the mix.
"I'm listening to this album now and it's emotional," says Strings. “I could sit there and tweak it forever, but there's a point where it's like building a house of cards. Yes, I could add an extra tower upstairs, but it could collapse. I've always doubted myself and still do, but this album makes me think, 'Hey, you're fine boy. You just have to carry on. '"
Extension is now possible to pre-order, and the new song “Fire Line” can be heard below.
1. Know everything
3. Love and Regret
4. Heartbeat of America
5. In the morning light
6. This old world
7. Show me the door
9. Red daisy
10. The fire on my tongue
11. Nothing works
12. Hide and seek
13. Ice bridges
14. Line of fire
15. Running the route