It seems like I’ve been following Billy Strings around for some time now. Frequent festival-goers tend to sit around and talk about the good and bad acts they’ve seen recently. Time after time, Billy Strings’ name comes up in a positive way. Folks have been mesmerized by his live shows.
Finally, with Turmoil & Tinfoil, we have a full album of Strings’ talent to hold in our hands and play loudly through our speakers. Like a lot of bluegrass guitar pickers, he came from a rock-and-roll and heavy metal background, as did other six-string gunslingers such as Andy Falco of the Infamous Stringdusters and Brett Bass of Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, just to name two.
There are times when bluegrass professionalism becomes too confined, when everybody does one wonderful solo and then gets back in line. Every once in a while though, you have to let the rooster out of the coop to wreak some havoc. On this album, the Michigan native brings the energy and virtuosity front and center, and that makes for a fun and fired-up musical experience.
Produced by Glenn Brown (Greensky Bluegrass), this project features Strings backed by a crack band featuring Drew Matulich, Billy Failing, and Brad Tucker. The special guests on this recording include 2017 IBMA Guitarist Of The Year Molly Tuttle, Shad Cobb, John Mailander, Bryan Sutton, and more. Strings doesn’t shred for the heck of it, and even slows his music down to a beautiful level on a few songs, as with the John Hartford-esque “While I’m Waiting Here.” Other highlights include the other-worldly “Pyramid Country,” the barnburner “Dealing Despair,” and the Strings/Sutton guitar duet “Salty Sheep.” (www.billystrings.com)DH