Billy Strings in Washington, DC [Photos/Videos/Audio]
During the weekend, Billy strings visited his constituents in Washington, D.C. with a two-night term at the anthem. The return of the ropes to the arena in the nation’s capital saw back-to-back debuts on night two.
One night one, Strings and his acolytes billy fails (banjo), Jarrod Walker (mandolin), Royal Masat (bass), and Alex Hargreaves (fiddle) threw a few hints at lawmakers just up the road, coming into the opener with a fiery “Wargasm.” between the covers of Bill Emerson, Ralph Stanley, Gordon Lightfoot, and more, Strings included a proper run through the traditional “White House Blues” in the second set. Strings only performed the cover one other time, just over a year ago at the same venue on November 13, 2021. “White House Blues” led to a final rebuke from the ruling political class with a transition to Robert Hunter-writes “Thunder”.
Billy Strings – “Fire on My Tongue” > “Secrets” [Pro-Shot] – 11/18/22
Later that evening, Strings dedicated what would amount to a five-song encore to his father, Terry Barberwith whom he is releasing an album that day, Me/And/Dadas well as his mother, Deb Apostol, which also features on the cover collection. The encore consisted entirely of covers found on the album, including “Long Journey Home”, “Stone Walls & Steel Bars”, “John Deere Tractor”, “Peartree”, and “Dig A Little Deeper In The Well”, ending the show on a sound and family note.
Related: Billy Strings Joins Dopapod For Closer DC Tour With Members Of PPPP & P-Funk [Videos]
For the second night, Strings and company returned ready to wrap up their national tour dates in the fall. After delivering a first set of 14 songs with plenty of covers, Billy took the stage solo to start the second with a pair of new compositions. First, an instrumental entitled “Mackinac Rag” which uses a traditional style close to other “Rags” (“Black Mountain Rag”, “Beaumont Rag”, etc.). Next is “Catch & Release,” which Billy released as a standalone single last month. Another stylistic experience, this autobiographical number takes on a speaking blues format found in the folk music.
Billy Strings – “Dust In A Baggie”, “A Robin Built A Nest On Daddy’s Grave” (Earl Sykes) [Pro-Shot] – 11/19/22
Billy Strings – “Mackinac Rag”, “Catch & Release”, “Freeborn Man” (Keith Allison, Mark Lindsay) – 11/19/22
[Video: Derek Gobble]
When Billy finally returned for the encore, he again took a scaled down approach as he was only joined by Jarrod for the traditional “Feast Here Tonight (Rabbit In A Log)”. Huddled around a single mic, the two were eventually joined by the rest of the band for “Freedom” and finally Doyle Neikirk and jimmy martinis “Tennessee”.
After Saturday night’s show, Billy Strings went nearby union stadium sit with Dopapod on the group’s tour-closing encore “Eight Years Ended”. For videos, photos and a full preview of this show, go here.
Check out a gallery of DC images courtesy of the photographer Sunburn/Josh Hitchen. The two-night run marked Strings’ last US shows until his New Year’s Eve run in New Orleans. In the meantime, he and his bandmates will cross Europe and the UK. For tickets and a full list of tour dates, visit their website.
Setlist: Billy Strings | The anthem | Washington, D.C. | 11/18/22
Set One: Fire on My Tongue > Secrets, West Dakota Rose (Chris Henry), Fire Line, Reuben’s Train (traditional), Gone A Long Time, Slipstream (Béla Fleck) Hellbender, Wargasm, Home of the Red Fox (Bill Emerson) > Ridin’ That Midnight Train (Ralph Stanley)
Set 2: Know It All, Heartbeat Of America, Cold On The Shoulder (Gordon Lightfoot), Ernest T. Grass (Ronnie Bowman, Dan Tyminski) > White House Blues (traditional)  > Thunder (Robert Hunter), Show Me The Door, The Old Mountaineer (Bill Monroe), Ain’t Nothing To Me (Leon Payne), Highway Hypnosis
Encore: Long Journey Home (Traditional) Stone Walls and Steel Bars (Roy Marcum, Ray Pennington), John Deere Tractor (Lawrence Hammond), Peartree (Doc Watson, Gaither Carlton), Dig a Little Deeper in the Well (Roger Bowling, Jody Emerson)
 Uncle John’s Choice
 LTP 11/13/21 (118 shows) at The Anthem
 Billy dedicated the encore to his dad Terry Barber (and mum Deb Apostol) in honor of their album dropping today
Setlist: Billy Strings | The anthem | Washington, D.C. | 11/19/22
Set One: Dust In A Baggie, A Robin Built A Nest On Daddy’s Grave (Earl Sykes), On The Line > Train 45 (Traditional), While I’m Waiting Here, Long Forgotten Dream, I’m Still Here (John Hartford ) > Everything is the same, nothing works, the new Camptown races (Frank Wakefield) > Unwanted Love (Reno & Smiley and The Gang), Old Train (Nikki Pedersen, Herb Pedersen), Turmoil & Tinfoil, Uncle Pen (Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys)
Set 2: Mackinac Rag  Catch and release  Freeborn Man (Keith Allison, Mark Lindsay), Taking Water > Ice Bridges, Love Like Me, Whisper My Name (Ebo Walker), Hide & Seek, My Alice, Blue Mule (Peter Rowan), This Old World, Bronzeback , Psycho (Eddie Payne), Far From The Mud
Encore: Celebrate Here Tonight (Rabbit in a Log)  (Traditional), Freedom Tennessee  (Doyle Neikirk, Jimmy Martin)
 FTP – William Apostol
 Billy Strings alone
 Duo Billy Strings and Jarrod Walker, single pickup
 Single mic
Billy Strings | The anthem | Washington, D.C. | 11/18/22 | Photos: Sunburn
Billy Strings | The anthem | Washington, D.C. | 11/19/22 | Photos: Sunburn