Billy Strings Makes Jazz Fest Debut In New Orleans

The guitarist was Thursday’s final performer on the Gentilly Stage.

By Andy Kahn May 6, 2022 6:50 am PDT

Billy Strings performed at New Orleans Jazz Fest for the first time on Thursday evening. The guitarist played a single set at the Gentilly Stage inside the fairgrounds.

Strings kicked off his 90-minute performance with “Hide & Seek” from his 2021 Grammy-nominated album, Renewal. Strings and his bandmates – mandolinist Jarrod Walker, bassist Royal Masat and banjoist Billy Failing – dug into The Stanley Brothers’ “A Robin Built A Nest On Daddy’s Grave,” followed by Marty Stuart’s “Old Mexico.”

The set continued with the Renewal track “The Fire On My Tongue,” followed by Strings’ instrumental original, “Bronzeback.” It was back to Renewal material as the quartet laid out “Love & Regret” and “Hellbender.” Strings then dipped into his early work with the often played “Dust In A Baggie.” The group then worked up a festive cover of Johnny Winter’s “Cheap Tequila.”

Two more Renewal selections were in store as Strings led takes on “Ice Bridges” and “In The Morning Light.” A cover of Johnny Cash’s “Big River” came next, featuring Strings delivering its location-appropriate lyrics: “take that woman down to New Orleans.” A pair of covers followed as Strings offered his versions of “New Camptown Races” as well as Bob Dylan’s “Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power).”

Strings capped his Jazz Fest debut by pulling out his staple, “Meet Me at the Creek,” from his 2017 album, Turmoil & Tinfoil. Tonight, Strings kicks off a three-show run at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.

Setlist (via BillyBase)

Set: Hide & Seek, A Robin Built A Nest On Daddy’s Grave, Old Mexico > The Fire On My Tongue > Bronzeback, Love & Regret, Hellbender, Dust In A Baggie, Cheap Tequila, Ice Bridges, In The Morning Light, Big River > New Camptown Races, Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power), Meet Me At The Creek


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