Photo by Jesse Faatz

Last night, Billy Strings performed his final set on Willie Nelsons Outlaw Music Festival Tour at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The performance marked Strings’ sixth set on Nelson’s traveling tour, and to mark the occasion, the 29-year-old spelled out “Thank You Willie” with his setlist.

Strings and his band opened the single set performance with the title track of his 2017 studio LP Turmoil & Tinfoil, which was followed by fretboard fireworks on “Hollow Heart” off 2019’s Home. Strings and his friends, banjoist Billy Failing, mandolinist Jarrod Walker, bassist Royal Masat and fiddler Alex Hargreaves, continued with another cut off Home, “Away From the Mire.” Next, the ensemble moved into a pairing off 2021’s Renewal: “Nothing’s Working” and “Know It All.”

With the “Thank” section of the set squared away, Strings began to spell “You” with a trio of covers. He started with “Y’all Come” by Arlie Duff, then “Old Mexico” by Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives. To close the segment, he performed a rendition of a Bill Monroe 1984 favorite, “Uncle Pen.” Next, Strings began to write out the name of the ringleader of the Outlaw Music Festival with a cover of Chris Henry’s “West Dakota Rose.” Then came the ever-ironic traditional “If Your Hair’s Too Long (There’s Sin in Your Heart), followed by the fan favorite “Love and Regret.” The second L was provided by Strings’ instrumental “Libby Phillips Rag.” The penultimate song came in the form of a cover of Pearl Jam’s “In Hiding,” while Strings’ original “Everything’s the Same” served as the final song for the evening.

Billy Strings will perform next at The Medows in Buena Bista, Colo., as part of his Renewal Tour.

Billy Strings
Saratoga Performing Arts Center – Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Sept. 18, 2022

Set: Turmoil & Tinfoil, Hollow Heart, Away From the Mire, Nothing’s Working, Know It All, Y‘all Come (Arlie Duff cover), Old Mexico (Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives cover), Uncle Pen (Bill Monroe cover), West Dakota Rose (Chris Henry cover), If Your Hair’s Too Long (There’s Sin in Your Heart) ([traditional] cover), Love and Regret, Libby Phillips Rag, In Hiding (Pearl Jam cover), Everything’s the Same