Year preformed at 4 Peaks:
Billy Strings has been hailed as the future of bluegrass, transcending tradition and genre with his high velocity, flat-picking guitar technique and intense, confessional songwriting. HOME, Strings’ remarkable second studio album, is undoubtedly the Michigan-born, Nashville-based artist’s bravest excursion thus far, reshaping bluegrass into his own exceptional form, completely rewiring the aesthetic with elements of punk, country, folk rock, and genuine psychedelic exploration to fashion something altogether original and all his own. From the jump, Strings has infused bluegrass with his own experiences and inspirations, adopting traditional sonic and lyrical idioms to confront contemporary social truths. Songs like “Away From The Mire” and the remarkable title track are rooted in the past but as now as next week, animated by electrifying musicianship, inventive production, and Strings’ irrepressible ambition. HOME marks a landmark on this constantly moving artist’s ongoing creative journey, its fearless songs and freewheeling approach recasting string-based American music in his own inimitable image.
“I’m starting to feel at home in my life,” Strings says. “I know that’s kind of a vague statement but I feel like I’m starting to feel at home in my career, in my relationship with my life partner, all those things. I feel like I’m settling in and starting to actually be content here.”
Born William Apostol, the Lansing, MI native was raised up on bluegrass guitar by his stepfather, Terry Barber, a gifted amateur picker in his own right. Dubbed Billy Strings by an aunt who presciently saw his burgeoning ability, he “got into electricity” in his teens and began fusing high-speed technique with his own equally breakneck charisma in a middle school grindcore band.
“I learned to play music playing bluegrass,” Strings says, “but I learned how to perform in a metal band.”
Growing up in rural Michigan taught Strings even more valuable lessons, forcing him to confront true hardship and struggle amongst his friends and family. His interests eventually returned to bluegrass, drawn in by its honesty, spirit, and seemingly infinite capacity for reinvention. Since moving to Nashville in 2016, Strings has been welcomed into the Americana community with open arms even as his work proudly expands its parameters. After making an auspicious solo debut with 2016’s self-titled EP, Strings impelled bluegrass towards heretofore-uncharted new terrain on his extraordinary debut album, TURMOIL & TINFOIL. Released via Strings’ own Apostol Recording Company, the markedly powerful collection rocketed Strings to the forefront of contemporary Americana, debuting at #3 on Billboard’s “Top Bluegrass Albums” chart whilst earning critical applause equivalent to its popular success. “Roots music is at its best when it places greater emphasis on telling powerful stories than it does adhering to any conventional genre boundaries,” raved American Songwriter. “With that in mind, TURMOIL & TINFOIL is a great roots album.”