Billy Strings has a fantastic new record out today.
The bluegrass phenom has exploded in popularity over the last year or two, for his insane pickin’ ability and incredible stage presence.
But the solo project he just released is something extra special for the Michigan native, as he worked with his stepfather, Terry Barber, who taught him everything he knows about country and bluegrass.
Titled Me/And/Dad, the tracklist features new versions of fourteen bluegrass and country classics that the two have been playing together since Strings was a young child.
Strings previously noted that he felt it was really important to take the time to make this album with his dad while they still had the chance:
“As long as I can remember, I wanted to make a record with my dad. I’ve been burning up and down the highways the last 12 years, and as time slips away, you start thinking, ‘I need to make time.’
It’s been a bucket list thing for me, something I’ve been afraid I wouldn’t find the time to do. And that scared me; not doing this record scared me.”
In addition to Strings and Barber on guitar, the songs feature bassist Mike Bub, mandolinist Ron McCoury, banjo player Rob McCoury and fiddler Michael Cleveland as well as special guest appearances by Jerry Douglas, Jason Carter and even Strings’ mother, Debra Barber, who sings on the final track, “I Heard My Mother Weeping.”
They released “Long Journey Home,” a bluegrass traditional first recorded by The Monroe Brothers, “Life To Go,” written by the great George Jones, and Lawrence Hammond’s “John Deere Tractor” in the lead up to today.
But of course, with the whole record out now, there’s a ton of other good stuff to get into, so make sure you give these a listen if you want some great new music to add to your playlist.
“Little Cabin Home On The Hill”
The production on “Little Cabin Home On The Hill,” a Bill Monroe original, is so crisp and clean. Elvis Presley also included his version of the song on his 1971 Elvis Country album.
“Dig A Little Deeper (In The Well)”
This one is an Oak Ridge Boys JAM, and of course, Billy and Terry do it more than justice:
“I Heard My Mother Weeping”
This song was originally recorded by the The Doc Watson family in 1964, with Doc and Merle being some of Strings’ biggest influences.
It was only right to close out the album with this one, in addition to Billy having his mother, Debra, add some absolutely fantastic vocals to the track, too:
Their “John Deere Tractor” rendition is still my very favorite, though:
Also make sure you take a look at the behind the scenes making of the album with Billy and his dad, what a special gift for them to be able to do this together:
It’s evident from this record that Billy comes by his natural musical ability very honestly, and it’s easily one of the more unique and special projects we’ve gotten this year.
I cannot say enough good things about it and how much I love every song, so make sure you give it a spin.
1. Long Journey Home (bluegrass traditional)
2. Life To Go (written by George Jones)
3. Way Downtown (written by Doc Watson)
4. Little Blossom (written by Hank Thompson)
5. Peartree (written by Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson, Gaither Carlton)
6. Stone Walls and Steel Bars (written by Ray Pennington, Roy Eugene Marcum)
7. Little White Church (written by Eugene Wellman)
8. Dig A Little Deeper (In The Well) (written by Jody Emerson, Roger Bowling)
9. Wandering Boy (written by A.P. Carter)
10. John Deere Tractor (written by Lawrence Hammond)
11. Frosty Morn (bluegrass traditional)
12. I Haven’t Seen Mary In Years (written by Damon Black)
13. Little Cabin Home On The Hill (written by Lester Flatt, Bill Monroe)
14. Heard My Mother Weeping (written by Carl Story, Lowell Blanchard)
Billy is gearing up for a huge 2023 winter tour, with some sold out ARENA shows (yes, you read that right), so if he’ll be anywhere near you next year, do NOT miss out.
2023 Winter Tour Dates:
Feb 16-18: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
Feb 21-22: John Paul Jones Arena
Feb 24- 25: Bridgestone Arena
Feb 26: Ryman Auditorium
March 3-4: Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum
March 7: Georgia Theatre
March 10: State Farm Arena
March 11-12: North Charleston Coliseum
March: 16-18: The Andrew J Brady Music Center