Friday night I went to a show at Bottom Lounge in downtown Chicago, but I felt like I was in a big open barn nestled in the foothills of Appalachia being serenaded with the bluegrass charms of Billy Strings. The acoustic guitar virtuoso has surrounded himself with a group of talented musicians who do their best to keep up with the nimble-fingered 26 year old Michigan native. The sold out crowd brought their dancing shoes and no one left without a smile on their face.
The set featured a lot of material from the most recent Billy Strings album Turmoil and Tinfoil as well as covers from bluegrass legends like Ralph Stanley and a front porch stomper version of The Beatles “And Your Bird Can Sing.” He even briefly indulged a fan’s request for some Slayer with a quick off the cuff riff.
I’d only heard a little bit of the music Billy Strings makes, but I was instantly drawn into the the live show by his innate ability to conjure whatever sound he wanted out of his guitar. The audience seemed to explode with applause every few minutes, whether the song was over or it was just the end of another insane solo, pulled off without breaking a sweat. It was a fun group of people to experience music with, all very much in tune with Billy Strings and feeding positive energy up to the stage.