Billy Strings at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, NC
Photos and article by Shana Leigh Photography, @shanaleighphoto
Coming in hot off his performance at Bonnaroo, Billy Strings packed out the Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, NC for a three-night run, kicking it off with the first show on June 23rd. Fans filled the beautiful outdoor venue ready for the bluegrass jam feast that Strings and his band are known for.
Strings, 29, was born in Michigan and raised in Morehead, Kentucky. Heavily influenced by his stepfather in all things traditional bluegrass, while melting in his own rock and metal musical influences, he’s created an eclectic sound that brings in fans by the droves. The past few years Billy has been gaining intense momentum and quickly becoming a household name, known admirably by the moniker Billy “Mother Fucking” Strings. Rightfully so, he is celebrated as a prodigy to those who know. And those who know, show up time and again.
One dedicated fan, Kristen Jenkins, showed up in Cary and celebrated her 100th Strings show by rail riding in her pink heartshaped glasses. She’s got love for the Strings and it shows. Billy gave her a lovely shout out that night to show his appreciation and gave her a highlight on his social media too. Strings is feeling the love from his dedicated following and his gratefulness is palpable.
It was a hot June evening that got started early and played until they could play no more. The jams carried on into the night and the noodlers were out for the noodling. The band had to wrap it up without an encore but specifically mentioned Shady Grove had to be the last song of the evening due to the Cary noise ordinance. Thankfully they still had two more nights to jam with the crowd and the band looked forward to seeing everyone the next night.
Setlist: Set 1
1. Blue Ridge Mountain Blues
2. This Old World
3. Black Mountain Rag
4. While I’m Waiting Here
5. Ole Slew-Foot
6. Show Me the Door
7. Fire Line
8. End of the Rainbow
9. Ice Bridges
11. Make Me a Pallet on the Floor
12. Heartbeat of America
13. In the Morning Light
14. All Time Low
15. Raleigh and Spencer
16. Thirst Multilator
17. Hollow Heart
18. Enough to Leave
20. Meet Me at the Creek
21. Shady Grove
Strings played a rooftop jam at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards this year where he was nominated for Best American Roots Performance for “Love and Regret”, as well as Best Bluegrass Album for his 2021 album “Renewal”. He won his first Grammy in 2021 for Best Bluegrass Album, for his 2019 release “Home”.
Strings is living the dream with guest appearances from some of his friends in the music world, joining the stage to jam. Post Malone in Santa Ana, CA and Trey Anastasio, of Phish, at Pier 17 in New York City have made it out to shows this year. Following the Cary shows, String added fiddler Alex Hargreaves to the band. It’s a bluegrass powerhouse rounded out with Strings, Hargreaves (fiddle), Jarrod Walker (mandolin), Billy Failing (banjo) and Royal Masat (bass). The heat is on and the hot just keeps getting hotter.
You can witness his rise and follow his journey on his social channels where he regularly shares with fans behind the scenes Instagram live jams and a dip into his pre-show rituals.
For more information on tour dates and all things Billy visit https://www.billystrings.com.
Check out some previous coverage of Billy Strings, here: Show Review: Billy Strings at Mission Ballroom 10/15
Follow Billy Strings on Instagram @billystrings.