Billy Strings Debuts George Jones Cover In Knoxville

The guitarist also gathered with his bandmates around a single mic to end the concert with “Freedom.”

By Scott Bernstein Feb 20, 2022 7:46 am PST

Billy Strings closed out a two-night stand in Knoxville on Saturday with a concert that included a debut cover of “Life To Go.” The song written by George Jones and first recorded by Stonewall Jackson was played as the second song in the second set last night at Knoxville Civic Auditorium.

Strings opened last night’s show with the beloved “Dust In A Baggie” and followed with an extended “Doin’ Things Right” that featured a tease of Jimi Hendrix’s “Third Stone From The Sun” to close the song. Billy and his bandmates — bassist Royal Masat, mandolinist Jarrod Walker and banjoist Billy Failing — then covered Bill Monroe’s “Southern Flavor” before looking to the guitarist’s Grammy-nominated 2021 album Renewal for “Nothing’s Working.” The ensuing “Freeborn Man”/”Secrets” pairing spanned 18 minutes. The quartet went on to close the frame with covers of Crystal Gayle’s “Ready For The Times To Get Better,” the traditional “Katy Daley” and Jimmie Skinner’s “Doin’ My Time.”

Billy kicked off the final set in Knoxville with Renewal standout “Hide & Seek.” Next came the band’s premiere take on “Life To Go.” Stonewall Jackson originally released the song penned by George Jones in 1958 and the single peaked at the No. 2 spot on the Billboard country and western chart. Jones put out his own version a year later on his George Jones Sings White Lightning And Other Favorites album.

The cover debut led into “Everything’s The Same” off Billy Strings’ Grammy-winning 2019 studio album, Home. Next came a tribute to Tony Rice via “Manzanita” before the quartet jammed “Fire On My Tongue” into “Must Be Seven.” Strings and company then took on Bill Anderson’s “In Case You Ever Change Your Mind,” The Stanley Brothers’ “A Robin Built A Nest On Daddy’s Grave” and “Hyacinth House,” a The Doors cover debuted and last played in Los Angeles on September 8, 2021. Billy ended the set with “Thunder,” a song featuring Strings’ music and lyrics from Robert Hunter that was first performed by Billy & The Kids last year. All four musicians gathered around a single mic for Home gem “Freedom” as the evening’s encore.

Watch Billy Strings cover George Jones’ “Life To Go” and perform “Freedom” below:


00:00:00
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yysTnEkHeE
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Setlist (via Billybase.net)

Set One: Dust In A Baggie > Doin’ Things Right (1), Southern Flavor, Nothing’s Working, Freeborn Man > Secrets, Ready For The Times To Get Better, Katy Daley, Doin’ My Time

Set Two: Hide & Seek, Life To Go (2), Everything’s The Same, Manzanita, Fire On My Tongue > Must Be Seven, In Case You Ever Change Your Mind, A Robin Built A Nest Daddy’s On Grave, Hyacinth House, Thunder

Encore: Freedom (3)

  • (1) 3rd Stone tease
  • (2) First Time Played – Stonewall Jackson/George Jones
  • (3) Single Mic
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