Billy Strings And His Father, Terry Barber, Share Stories And Take You Behind The Scenes Of Creating Their New Album, ‘ME/AND/DAD’

Billy Strings country music

Billy Strings put out a fantastic new record last Friday.

It’s actually collaborative project with his stepdad (who raised him and he refers to as his father) Terry Barber.

Titled Me/And/Dad, the tracklist features new versions of fourteen bluegrass and country classics that the two have been playing together since Strings was a young child.

And they’re giving fans a look at what went down behind the scenes, as well as sharing some of their memories of playing together and Billy learning about music from his dad growing up.

He says that his earliest childhood memories of are sitting in his high chair when he was three years old, listening to his dad and his friends pickin’ tunes in the kitchen:

“Some of these songs I probably was hearing before I can remember. I mean, even as early as when I was three years old I remember sitting in my high chair and you guys sitting around pickin’ tunes.

Who knows what they were playing back then, but possibly some of these tunes. And by the time I was four, five, six years old, he was showing me tunes like ‘Beaumont Rag,’ ‘Salt Creek,’ and ‘Long Journey Home,’ and you know, a bunch of those tunes that you could play in G, C and D with the capo.

I’m sittin’ there on the bed pickin’ those little tunes, when I should be sleeping ‘cuz I got school the next day. But man I was really gettin’ my real lessons at night pickin’ with you.”

He also asked his father about how he got into bluegrass, and Terry says he remembers going down South with his dad to the hills of Appalachia and falling in love with the rich sound:

“When I started going down South with dad and getting down here in these hills, and heard the Grand Ole Opry for the first time.

That’s when I started falling in love with that. Where the radio picked it up in the truck.”

Billy added that a large part of why he wanted to do this album was to preserve his dad’s sound, which shaped every part of who he is as a musician today:

“In a way, I resemble his characteristics… hopefully I can play like him, and that’s another good reason for this record is ‘cuz I always want that. I mean, I want to carry on your sound. Which is a specific thing.

He’s part of a dying breed of bluegrass musicians that you don’t really hear any more. You know, sometime in the late 70’s and 80’s, the sound was kind of modernizing a bit and it seems like less and less you hear people play the old way.

Like, the old mountain sound or you know, more Stanley Brothers and Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs sound. And he just has that. And I think it’s just important for people to hear that, as well, you know?”

I’d say Billy is doing a might fine job carrying on the torch.

He also told an incredible story about his dad’s guitar you have to hear. The family needed money, and unfortunately, Terry had to do what he had to do to make ends meet and sold it:

“That guitar when I was little, you know, like, was the guitar I sat in front of to learn. And I had a dream about having that guitar someday, you know.

And that it would be something that I could always play and remember my dad, like long after he passes away. And he told me, ‘Son, someday when I die, this will be your guitar.’ It’s like, I built a dream upon, you know, someday taking care of that thing.

It was dad’s Martin, it was the family jewel. It was the one thing of extreme value, both sentimental… that was worth anything that we really had.”

And in an insane turn of luck, or destiny, Billy was searching for an acoustic guitar years later, after getting out of playing in heavy metal bands for a while when he was getting back into bluegrass, and somehow came across his dad’s old one online.

Billy begged the guy selling it not to sell it to anyone else, as he explained to him that it had been his grandfather’s guitar, then his dad’s, and it was supposed to be his one day.

At first the seller didn’t believe him, but the guy’s wife stepped in after hearing Billy’s messages and didn’t let her husband sell it to anyone else.

Billy eventually talked him into a payment plan, because he was “piss broke,” and the guy wanted $2,100 for the guitar. Billy sent him $700 three months in a row, doing whatever he could to scrap it up in the meantime, and eventually, he got his dad’s old guitar in the mail.

Of course, when he took it over to his dad’s house to show him, Terry was astounded Billy had managed to get it back. They all started balling, and when Terry played “John Deere Tractor” for his family on it again, Billy says everyone “lost it.”

What a story…

Take a few minutes out of your day to watch the whole video, they have an incredible legacy and are true musicians in every sense:

“John Deere Tractor”

ME/AND/DAD tracklist:

1. Long Journey Home (bluegrass traditional)
2. Life To Go (written by George Jones)
3. Way Downtown (written by Doc Watson)
4. Little Blossom (written by Hank Thompson)
5. Peartree (written by Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson, Gaither Carlton)
6. Stone Walls and Steel Bars (written by Ray Pennington, Roy Eugene Marcum)
7. Little White Church (written by Eugene Wellman)
8. Dig A Little Deeper (In The Well) (written by Jody Emerson, Roger Bowling)
9. Wandering Boy (written by A.P. Carter)
10. John Deere Tractor (written by Lawrence Hammond)
11. Frosty Morn (bluegrass traditional)
12. I Haven’t Seen Mary In Years (written by Damon Black)
13. Little Cabin Home On The Hill (written by Lester Flatt, Bill Monroe)
14. Heard My Mother Weeping (written by Carl Story, Lowell Blanchard)

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock