by Tuba // The Crowded Bathroom Show
I recently saw Billy Strings in concert at the Columbia Historic Speedway and it got me thinking: with a new prominent bluegrass performer on the rise, what does the genre have in store for the future? His album Home (2020) won the Grammy award for Best Bluegrass Album, and the name Billy Strings is becoming more and more familiar to many.
Bluegrass has been a genre where not much has changed since its rise to popularity in the late 1940s. In fact, it almost seems like most bluegrass fans were born around that time; well, that is, until now. There are not many people who would ask, “what would happen if you taught a kid at four years old to flat-pick guitar, made him into a metal head, and then told him to write bluegrass music?” However, for those who were wondering, Billy Strings is what would happen. His influence from metal music creates chord progressions and solos that nobody has ever heard in bluegrass before, and his jam band-style live performances draw a fanbase including Deadheads, hippies, old bluegrass fans, folk music enthusiasts, college-aged kids who just like to go to concerts, and many, many more.
This is something that nobody has ever seen in bluegrass before, and only time will tell how Billy Strings’ music will shape the genre for the future.