Photo by Jesse Faatz

Last weekend, March 16 through 18, Billy Strings and his band sold out the Andrew J. Brady Music Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, for three back-to-back nights of live music. The venue served as the final multi-night stop for Strings’ Winter 2023 tour. The Grammy award-winning guitarist went all-out for his closing show on Saturday night, surprising fans with a brand new original track, “Cabin Song,” as well as a debut take on Alice in Chains’ 1994 hit “Nutshell.” 

Strings and his band–Royal Mast (bass), Jarrod Walker (mandolin), Billy Failing (banjo) and Alex Hargreaves (fiddle)–kicked off the night with “On The Line,” which was featured on the 2017 studio project Turmoil & Tinfoil. Next, the musicians transitioned seamlessly into their rendition of the Osborne Brothers’ “Ruby Are You Mad” before returning to Turmoil & Tinfoil for “Doin’ Things Right.” Then, Strings slowed things down with a cover of John Hartford’s “I’m Still Here,” which flowed directly into Failing’s original tune “So Many Miles.” The ensemble kept the covers rolling with The Stanely Brothers’ “Stone Walls and Steel Bars” and The Infamous Stringdusters’ “No More to Leave You Behind” before moving into “Nothing’s Working” from Strings’ 2021 LP Renewal. After tackling Larry Sparks’ 1980 track “John Deere Tractor,” the band closed out the show’s first set with a meandering version of “Meet Me At The Creek.” 

The show’s second frame started off with a bang. Strings returned to the stage with a special announcement– he had taught the band a brand new number during set break, entitled “Cabin Song.” Strings followed up the track’s debut with some familiar material, slipping from Renewall’s “Taking Water” into the 2019 number “Ice Bridges.” They then returned to Renewal for “Watch It Fall” before offering their own spin on the traditional bluegrass tune “Will You Be Loving Another Man?” The quintet picked back up with 2021 original “Living Like An Animal,” which bled right into 2019’s “Long Forgotten Dream.” 

Halfway through the second set, the ensemble whipped out their second surprise of the night. Met by a round of audience applause, Strings and company performed their first live rendition of Alice in Chains’ “Nutshell” from the iconic rock bands’ 1994 album Jar Of Flies. Then, they kept the show moving with “Wargasm,” followed by “In The Morning Light” and “Libby Phillips Rag.” The jammers closed out the show’s final frame with “Turmoil and Tinfoil” before returning to the stage to dish out Jimmy Martin’s “Tennessee” as an encore. 

While Saturday’s show marked the end of Billy Strings’ winter tour circuit, the quintet has announced that they will return to the road on April 13 for another run of tour dates. The band will pick back up with appearances in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida before heading over to Los Angeles for Willie Nelson’s 90th Birthday celebration at The Hollywood Bowl on April 29 and 30. On May 11 and 12, they will take the stage for two sold-out nights at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colo. View Billy Strings’ full live performance schedule and purchase tickets here.

Watch a fan-recorded video of Billy Strings’ take on “Nutshell” here.

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Billy Strings
Andrew J. Brady Music Center – Cincinnati, Ohio
March 18, 2023

Set I: On The Line > Ruby Are You Mad, Doin’ Things Right, I’m Still Here > So Many Miles, Stone Walls & Steel Bars, No More To Leave You Behind, Nothing’s Working, John Deere Tractor, Meet Me At The Creek

Set II: Set Two: Cabin Song, Taking Water > Ice Bridges, Watch It Fall, Will You Be Loving Another Man?, Living Like An Animal > Long Forgotten Dream, Nutshell > Wargasm, In The Morning Light, Libby Phillips Rag, Turmoil & Tinfoil

Enc.: Tennessee