Billy Strings Unveils Jimmy Martin & John Hartford Covers In London
Watch Billy open the show with “Slow Train,” close out with Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage” and more.
Billy Strings continued his London run with the first of two concerts at Islington Assembly Hall on Saturday. The guitarist and his band, who were making their London theatre debut after performing at the Rough Trade East record store the day previous, offered a pair of debut covers including Jimmy Martin’s “Foggy Old London” and more.
Billy Strings and his band — mandolinist Jarrod Walker, bassist Royal Masat and banjo player Billy Failing — launched the show with “Slow Train.” A pairing of the bluegrass standard “Ernest T. Grass” and original “Must Be Seven” feel in the second and third slots.
Billy then turned to material from his Grammy-nominated 2021 album Renewal with “Love & Regret” and “Hide & Seek” followed by a pair of traditionals in “Hold That Wood Pile Down” and “The Baggage Coach Ahead.” Next, Billy linked up “Long Forgotten Dream” with “New Country Blues,” the latter a tune by Bill Neshi and Drew Emmitt. Strings brought the first frame to a close with the favorite “Dust In A Baggie.”
The second set got underway with Renwal’s “The Fire On My Tongue,’ which, in a bit of foreshadowing, led into John Hartford’s “All Fall Down.” A coupling of “Taking Water” and “Ice Bridges” came next before Billy unveiled the location apropos “Foggy Old London.” Originally written by Al Robinson, Jimmy Martin recorded the tune in 1960.
Following a paring of “Fire Line” and the standard “Reuben’s Train” along with Peter Rowan’s “Bound To Ride,” Billy debuted another cover “The Wart,” marking the second John Hartford tune of the evening. The song appears on the folk and bluegrass legend’s 1969 self-titled album. Billy continued with originals “Hollow Heart” And “Away From The Mire” before bringing the evening to a close with another apt cover for the locale, “Brain Damage” by London’s own Pink Floyd. Billy Strings concludes his London run at Islington tonight. Livestreams are available via nug.net.
Watch video from yesterday’s show below:
Setlist (via BillyBase)
Set One: Slow Train, Ernest T. Grass > Must Be Seven > Hide & Seek, Love & Regret, Hold the Woodpile Down, In the Baggage Coach Ahead, Long Forgotten Dream > New Country Blues, Dust In A Baggie
Set Two: Fire On My Tongue > All Fall Down, Taking Water >Ice Bridges, In Foggy Old London(1) Fire Line > Rueben’s Train(2), Bound to Ride, The Wart(3), Hollow Heart, Away From the Mire, Brain Damage
(1) FTP – Al Robinson/Jimmy Martin
(2) 3rd Stone From the Sun Jam
(3) FTP – John Hartford
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