Earlier this week, Billy Strings posted the titles of a few songs off a setlist and today’s date on socials, prompting fans to find the date of the show and speculate why the bluegrass star shared “Meet Me At The Creek > Pyramid Country > Must Be Seven > Meet Me At The Creek” on a black background. The overall consensus was that a live album was on the way, and with the release of the 38-minute sandwich circa March 4, 2023, on major streaming platforms and a post from Strings, the offering is confirmed.
In celebration of the release–which will come with a live video on Strings’ YouTube channel at 12 p.m.–Strings wrote, “Live record is in the works folks! I’ve been digging through a big ol’ pile of shows trying to find all the good stuff and I stumbled upon a MMATC sandwich from last March in Winston-Salem, NC. I couldn’t wait to share it with you, so we just released it. Hope you like it. There’s a lot more where this came from. Enjoy!”
Sonically, the jam is as fresh and true a taste from the spectacle of a live Billy Strings show as one can get. The recording opens with with the already satisfied and excited hums of a sold-out crowd before each of the band members–Strings, Billy Failing, Royal Masat, Jarrod Walker and Alex Hargreaves–make their presence known with gentle plucking and scratching akin to a camber orchestra stretching their fingers. Any confusion about what kind of show this is quickly quashed as they crack open “Meet Me At The Creek” – the fretboard fireworks and crooning from Strings is unmistakable.
Without pause at the 12-minute mark, the ensemble stamps some switches, allowing their masterful instrumentation to take on some abstract warbling sparks – of course, rooted in the bright, twangy foundation laid by the bluegrass artists that came before them. They stay in this space, talking only through their instruments for over 20 minutes before Strings lends his voice to “Must Be Seven.” The introspective and emotive section smooths out the cliffs and valleys carved during the previous segment and is welcomed by the crowd. Finally, the final slice of bread is added as they return to “Meet Me At The Creek,” followed by jubilation and thanks from an artist who truly and unabashedly loves what he does. A real taste of a live Strings show indeed.
Listen to Billy Strings’ first-ever live recording on major streaming platforms below.