In the newest issue of Relix, bluegrass star Billy Strings recounts his wild year in the spotlight, highlighted for his Grammy win for his sophomore release HOME.

“Just making that record was an achievement in itself,” Strings tells Relix, “because it was only my second one and I’m still learning how to use the studio as an instrument. In the studio you can do magic—you can overdub, you can do big harmonies on the vocals, you can do oohs and aahs, whatever you want. Even on Turmoil, I wanted to dive in and get weird, and not just with an acoustic guitar, a banjo, a mandolin and a upright bass. I’m totally fine with synthesizers and drums, or harmonica and jaw harp. I’m up for anything I can get my hands on—a didgeridoo, even a fricking goat.”

Later, Strings chronicles his rise to fame, despite the pandemic, and the anxieties therein.

“I’m just this dude who plays guitar,” he continues, while expounding on the nature of his discomfort. “Sometimes I think, ‘If I was a masked musician, like someone in Slipknot, or in a band like KISS, then that would be awesome.’ One time, I played a show wearing ICP face paint and I felt so empowered because it wasn’t me up there; it was like this other character.”

However, with a frim grasp on his roots and an eye toward the future, the singer-guitarist still knows who he is: “I can’t pretend to be this prim and proper kid because I’m not. I’m a fucking skater punk… I’m just this dude who plays guitar.”

Subscribe to Relix at

Read the full cover story here.