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Jam Central Station: Billy Strings

May 19, 2018 | Posted by Jeff Modzelewski

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At just 25 years old, bluegrass guitarist Billy Strings is quickly on his way to becoming a major force in the world of bluegrass. An extremely talented and creative guitarist, Strings has spent the past 5 years building a name for himself, building musical relationships in the scene, and positioning himself to lead a new generation of bluegrass musicians. He’s the full package as a singer, guitarist, songwriter, and bandleader, and he has built momentum over the past year that is undeniable.

Billy was born into a bluegrass family, as both of his parents and many relatives played bluegrass. He started playing music at an early age, and became proficient on guitar, mandolin, banjo, and other instruments. An aunt dubbed him “Billy Strings” because of his ability to play almost any stringed instrument he got his hands on. As he got older he moved away from bluegrass and played guitar in a metal band in high school. After a few years he rediscovered his early love of bluegrass while on a joyride in his mom’s car. Strings love of metal music translated well as he moved back to the bluegrass scene, and his high energy style and fast picking aren’t too dissimilar to what he did as a metal guitarist.

Billy has started out by releasing two bluegrass albums with Don Julin 2013’s Rock of Ages and 2014’s Fiddle Tune X. These albums began giving him national recognition for his talent. 2017’s Turmoil & Tinfoil did a better job of capturing his live energy on an album and charted on the bluegrass charts. Over the past few years he’s spent time touring the country, and over the past year he has gone from opening for good friends Greensky Bluegrass to headlining his own club and ballroom shows. Being from Michigan, collaborations with Greensky Bluegrass were a natural fit, but Strings has also set to collaborate with Marcus King at the upcoming Rooster Walk and has been a part of numerous bluegrass jams at festivals around the country.

While he’s just getting started, it’s pretty clear that Billy Strings has a bright future ahead of him. He’s innovative, energetic, extremely talented, and he has a connection with his audience that’s undeniable. This is just the starting point for him, but it’s a great place to get into his music. It’ll be exciting to see how he continues to grow and play over the next few years and beyond.

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Phish announce fall tour
Phish announced the dates for their fall tour, including a stop in Vegas for Halloween. The band will only be hitting 5 arenas on their fall run, but each stop will be a minimum of 2 shows. The dates also include a 3 night run at the Hampton Coliseum.

Oct. 16 – Times Union Center – Albany, NY
Oct. 17 – Times Union Center – Albany, NY
Oct. 19 – Hampton Coliseum – Hampton, Va.
Oct. 20 – Hampton Coliseum – Hampton, Va.
Oct. 21 – Hampton Coliseum – Hampton, Va.
Oct. 23 – Ascend Amphitheater – Nashville
Oct. 24 – Ascend Amphitheater – Nashville
Oct. 26 – Allstate Arena – Chicago
Oct. 27 – Allstate Arena – Chicago
Oct. 28 – Allstate Arena – Chicago
Oct. 31 – MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas
Nov. 1 – MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas
Nov. 2 – MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas
Nov. 3 – MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas

Umphrey’s McGee drop unannounced album
Umphrey’s McGee released a brand new album Friday morning. it’s you is the previously-unannounced second half to their it’s not us album released earlier this year. The band stated that they simply had so much music recorded that there was no way they were going to put it all on one album, and they wanted to do something different with the surprise release. The album is available streaming or for sale on the band’s website.

Phil Lesh announces Central Park show
Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band will perform at Central Park Summerstage on September 5. The show will also feature Nicki Bluhm and Erik Krasno joining the band.

Widespread Panic announce fall dates
Widespread Panic announced a few fall dates this week. The band so far only announced 4 multi-night stops for their run.

Aug. 31-Sept. 2 – Ascend Amphitheater – Nashville
Sept. 14-16 – St. Augustine Amphitheatre – St. Augustine, Fla.
Oct. 19-21 – Riverside Theater – Milwaukee, Wisc.
Oct. 26-28 – Park Theater – Las Vegas

jcsevents

DelFest
May 24-27
Cumberland, MD
The Del McCoury Band, The Travelin’ McCoury’s, The Bluegrass Congress, Old Crow Medicine Show, David Grisman, Sam Bush, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, The Jerry Douglas Band, The Wood Brothers, Fruition, Billy Strings

Summer Camp
May 25-27
Three Sisters Park
Chillicothe, IL
moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, STS9, Greensky Bluegrass, Beats Antique, EOTO, Everyone Orchestra, Keller Williams, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Lettuce, Slightly Stoopid, Papadosio, Twiddle, Yonder Mountain String Band

Dark Star Jubilee
May 25-27
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH
Dark Star Orchestra, Los Lobos, Infamous Stringdusters, Hot Tuna, The Nth Power, Rumpke Mountain Boys

Camp Greensky
May 31-June 2
Wellston, MI
Greensky Bluegrass, Jeff Tweedy, Trampled By Turtles, Fruition, Billy Strings

Purple Hatter’s Ball
June 1-2
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL
Lettuce, Spafford, Breaking Biscuits, Toubab Krewe, The Heavy Pets, Southern Ave.

Music on the Mothership
June 1-3
Taos, NM
moe., Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Rising Appalachia, Antibalas, Assembly of Dust, Fruition, Nicki Bluhm, Melvin Seals

Bonnaroo
June 7-10
Manchester, TN
Eminem, Muse, The Killers, Bassnectar, The Revivalists, Rebelution, STS9, Mavis Staples, Trombone Shorty, Spafford, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

Blue Ox Music Festival
June 14-16
Eau Claire, WI
Greensky Bluegrass, The Devil Makes Three, Sam Bush, Del McCoury Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, Margo Price, Billy Strings

Mountain Jam
June 15-17
Hunter Mountain, NY
Jack Johnson, Sturgill Simpson, alt-J, The War On Drugs, Portugal. The Man, The Decembrists, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Rag n’ Bone Man, Turkuaz, The Record Company

Electric Forest Weekend 1
June 21-24
Double JJ Ranch & Resort
Rothbury, MI
The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Chromeo, Xavier Rudd, Andy Frasco & The UN, Aqueous, Big Something, Corey Henry & The Funk Apostles, Everyone Orchestra, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Manic Focus, Shook Twins, The Main Squeeze, The Werks, The Nth Power, Toubab Krewe, Turkuaz

Road Jam
June 22-23
Two Roads Brewing Company
Stratford, CT
Lotus, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, The Motet, TAUK

Electric Forest Weekend 2
June 28-July 1
Double JJ Ranch & Resort
Rothbury, MI
The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Chromeo, Xavier Rudd, Aqueous, Big Something, Corey Henry & The Funk Apostles, Everyone Orchestra, Fruition, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Manic Focus, Shook Twins, The Main Squeeze, The Werks, The Nth Power, Toubab Krewe, Turkuaz

High Sierra
July 5-8
Quincy, CA
String Cheese Incident, Sturgill Simpson, Lettuce, The Wood Brothers, Turkuaz, Lotus, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Twiddle, Fruition, Spafford

Camp Bisco
July 12-14
Montage Mountain
Scranton, PA
The Disco Biscuits, Bassnectar, Excision, Bonobo, The Floozies, Lettuce, TAUK, Lotus, Papadosio

The Ride Festival
July 14-15
Telluride, CO
The String Cheese Incident, Sheryl Crow, Grace Potter, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Big Something

Peach Festival
July 19-22
Montage Mountain
Scranton, PA
Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, Gov’t Mule, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Dicky Betts, moe., Twiddle, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Blackberry Smoke, Turkuaz, Leftover Salmon, The Main Squeeze,

Northwest String Summit
July 19-22
Horning’s Hideout
North Plains, OR
Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, Keller Williams, Fruition, Mandolin Orange, Steep Canyon Rangers

Floydfest
July 25-29
Floyd, VA
Foster the People, The Infamous Stringdusters, Hiss Golden Messenger

Element Music Festival
July 26-29
Snug Lake Ampitheatre
British Columbia
Lotus, Spafford, Particle

Werk Out Festival
August 2-4
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH
The Werks, Umphrey’s McGee, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Lettuce, Papadosio, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Twiddle, Turkuz

Summer Meltdown Festival
August 2-5
Darrington, WA
Bassnectar, Big Gigantic, Greensky Bluegrass, Lettuce, Beats Antique, Papadosio, Twiddle, Pimps of Joytime

Hoxeyville
August 17-19
Wellston, VA
Dawes, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, Billy Strings, Larry Keel, Steppin’ In It, Jon Stickney Trio, The Crane Wives

Lockn
August 23-26
Arrington, VA
Dead & Company, Widespread Panic, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Umphrey’s McGee, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Sheryl Crow, Lettuce, George Clinton & P-Funk, Blues Traveler, Matisyahu, Spafford, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

Waterloo Festival
September 8-9
Carson Creek Ranch
Austin, TX
The String Cheese Incident (3 nights), Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Railroad Earth, The Motet, Boombox, TAUK, Marco Benevento

FreshGrass Festival
September 14-16
North Adams, MA
Trampled By Turtles, Yonder Mountain String Band, Indigo Girls, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Steep Canyon Rangers

The Festy Experience
October 5-7
Arrington, VA
Greensky Bluegrass, Gillian Welch, Railroad Earth, Sam Bush Band, Della Mae, Fruition, Carbon Leaf, Bonnie Paine

Hillberry Music Festival
October 11-14
Railroad Earth, Trampled By Turtles, Sam Bush, Lettuce, The Wood Brothers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Billy Strings, Split Lip Rayfield

Strings & Sol
December 7-11
Puerto Morelos, MX
Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon

Winter Wondergrass Vermont
December 14-16
Stratton, VT

Tropical Throe.down
January 10-14
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
moe., The New Mastersounds, Big Something

International Incident
January 25-28
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
The String Cheese Incident, Keller Williams

Winter Wondergrass Colorado
February 22-24
Steamboat Springs, CO

Winter Wondergrass California
March 29-31
Squaw Valley, CA

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Thanks again for stopping by. I’ll be back next week with more jam. Until then, check me out on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute concert announcements. Until next week, Jam On!

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