What’s not to love about a little bit of bluegrass mixed with some heavy metal? At this rate, we need to start asking what Billy Strings won’t do.
Living guitar legend Billy Strings is getting in touch with his ’90s rock/metal side, sitting in with the famed group Tool. He joined the group a few months back during a stop in Salt Lake City, but one night of insane guitar shredding was not enough, and he graced the stage with Tool again the other night in Nashville.
While we know Billy Strings for his electric bluegrass picking, some fans might not know that Strings stepped away from bluegrass and had a metal band for a while. While growing up in Michigan, Strings was rooted deep in the bluegrass community as his neighborhood would have bonfires where everyone sat around with a guitar and picked classic tunes from the greats like Doc Watson and Earl Scruggs. When Strings started dabbling in music for himself, he was taught the traditional picking style, but on his path to see what he truly loved, he stepped away from the genre, dabbling in rock and heavy metal music.
Eventually, Stings found his way back to his bluegrass roots and started his career, spreading the genre’s tradition with his twist, broadcasting his talent, and pioneering a fandom. But Strings can still appreciate the rock/metal genre he spent some time with, even sharing some of his favorite tracks with his audience.
Knowing this (for those unfamiliar with the history) makes this sit-in more sense. Billy Strings traded in his acoustic guitar for an electric and tore up the stage with the Grammy Award winning band.
Strings was welcomed on stage by the lead singer, Maynard James Keenan. Keenan introduced Strings as “this f**king guy,” and the crowd went wild when he strolled to the middle of the arena stage.
I love how the members of Tool let Strings take the lead for the guitar solo, and Strings respectfully takes the time they give him, then accompanies them where needed during the lyrical portions of the song. It highlights Strings’s true talent as a player, showing he can go with the ebbs and flows of many other great musicians, standing out when allowed and blending in when needed.
Strings continues to be one of the most desired musicians in the business, is clearly one of the most talented, and the best part… he just getting started.
Just for fun, check out his sit-in from Salt Lake City, too.