If you haven’t heard Billy Strings perform, you haven’t been to a recent Americana music festival. This uber talented 24-year-old tore up stages last year at Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival, Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion and Appaloosa Roots Music Festival, just to name a few.
Strings became a sensation in his home state while still in his teens. “He has an almost supernatural ability on guitar, banjo and mandolin that has set the region’s bluegrass and folk scene on fire,” according to a profile published in 2012 in Northern Express, a Michigan arts weekly.
He eventually moved to Nashville to further his career. Strings released a self-titled, six-song EP in 2016, which contains an eclectic and foot-stomping mix of originals and traditional songs such as “Black Mountain Rag,” also covered by Doc Watson.
Strings, né William Apostol, will demonstrate his unique brand of bluegrass at The Rives Theatre on Saturday, April 1, in uptown Martinsville, Virginia, at a Rooster Walk 9 preview show. ShadowGrass, a group of young musicians from Western North Carolina and Southwestern Virginia , will open.
Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 day of show. Season passes are accepted. Tickets available online HERE and available locally at Daily Grind and Rising Sun Breads in Martinsville. Music starts 8:30 p.m. with Strings taking the stage around 9:15 p.m. NCAA basketball fans take note: The Rives will also be showing the UNC/Oregon Final Four game on the upper theatre’s movie screen beginning around 8:50.
From the Rives website:
“Imagine taking a hardcore heavy metal band like Pantera and cramming all that energy into the body of a 23-year-old bluegrass guitarist. That’s Billy Strings. He tears up the stage during his set, grimacing, growling, head-banging and tearing the holy sh*t out of a set of super-charged Americana. Kid can pick! DAMN can he pick! It’s acoustic music with a punk edge and a lot of youthful enthusiasm and, oh man, that PICKING! Strings covers a wide variety of classic tunes and songs in his show, from a slow-burning cover of ‘Wild Bill Jones’ to a raw cover of ‘Cocaine Blues’ or picking delights like ‘Red Haired Boy’ and ‘Soldier’s Joy.’ But the standout track is the opening song, ‘Dust in a Baggie,’ a cleverly written mountain song about meth that manages to take a very current and destructive issue and translate it into the bluegrass vernacular. It’s a tour-de-force, written by Strings himself, and is the moment you realize just how far this kid’s gonna go.” — D.L. “THE BLUEGRASS SITUATION”
ShadowGrass is a group of young musicians from Western North Carolina and Southwestern Virginia who crossed paths at local fiddler’s conventions in the summer of 2014. They began a musical journey that has led them to play and compete together. Although they have their own style, ShadowGrass is honored to be playing in the shadow of great bluegrass legends. Holding to their bluegrass roots, fast picking, and fresh arrangements have earned the band numerous awards in youth and adult competitions across the region. In 2016 they placed 5th in the adult bluegrass band category at the Galax Fiddler’s Convention. ShadowGrass has had the privilege of playing at exciting venues, including Heartwood and The Crooked Road, The Blue Ridge Music Center, The Lincoln Theatre, The Historic Earle Theatre, and at festivals such as the National Folk Festival, MerleFest, HoustonFest, the Richmond Folk Festival, SPGBMA, and IBMA. They were honored to be chosen as a featured youth band for the IBMA World of Bluegrass Festival in 2016. Their foot-tapping music and charming personalities continue to draw a crowd and gain encouraging fans with each new place they visit. ShadowGrass is looking forward to contributing to the heritage of bluegrass music for years to come.