Livestream Concert Review: Billy Strings, March 26, ACL Live at the Moody Theater

The notion of musicians touring around and playing to empty rooms across the country while the audience stays home and watches on their screens is very much a sign of the unique times we’re living in, and it is also most definitely an odd one.

But that’s just what Billy Strings has been doing, having just wrapped up a tour of livestreamed shows from iconic venues across the U.S. that culminated in this past Friday night’s show at Austin’s Moody Theater. While I haven’t seen more than a handful of livestreams over the past year, our recent coverage of SXSW got me back in the habit of writing live(ish) music reviews, so I figured why not keep the streak going and keep it Austin-based (even if I can’t be in Austin this year) by checking out the show.

Taking to the stage with his three piece band (made up of banjo, mandolin, and upright bass), Billy Strings started things off strong with “Secrets”, its lyrics such as “we’re all a dollar short and every one of us is running out of track” certainly resonating with the times.

Strings and his band played an impressive show full of originals and covers of tunes such as “Ole Slew Foot”, “San Antonio Rose” and “Big River” that highlighted their incredible musicianship. Strings also gave each of his bandmates a moment in the spotlight, with each of them taking lead vocals on a song during the night.

While Billy Strings would probably best be described as a bluegrass musician, he’d hardly be considered a purist when it comes to influences. I hear a lot of Tony Rice in Strings’ sound, and like the late bluegrass legend, Strings incorporates a lot of different elements from various genres into his playing, from the jazzy “newgrass” sound pioneered by Rice to a lot of psychedelic influences and even some straight up rock. All of those influences were made evident over the course of the evening, as Strings and his band ran through two full sets before ending things off for the night with a simple, “See y’all later. Thanks so much for hanging out with us.”

Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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