Billy Strings Debuts John Hartford Cover In Detroit

Watch Billy start the show solo and cover the Grateful Dead’s “Help On The Way”/”Slipknot!”/”Franklin’s Tower” suite.

By Scott Bernstein Nov 22, 2021 9:06 am PST

Billy Strings capped a two-night stand at The Fillmore in Detroit on Sunday. Strings started the concert with a series of solo songs and offered the full-band debut cover of John Hartford’s “No End Of Love” during the evening’s second set.

The show began with Billy premiering a piece solo on banjo entitled “Ol’ Rickard” which led into a similarly styled “Reuben’s Train.” Strings then swapped banjo for guitar to go it alone on Doc Watson’s “Brown’s Ferry Blues.” The guitarist’s band featuring banjoist Billy Failing, bassist Royal Masat and mandolinist Jarrod Walker emerged for the ensuing “Pyramid Country” and accompanied Strings on the rest of the show.

“Pyramid Country” gave way to “Must Be Seven” off Billy’s Grammy-winning 2019 album Home. The quartet stuck with Home material in pairing “Away From The Mire” and “Highway Hypnosis.” A take on the Tony Rice classic “Manzanita” broke up the run of five Home songs which ended with “Taking Water” and “Watch It Fall.” The four-piece then closed out the set with Jerry Reed’s “The Likes Of Me.”

A typically well-jammed “Meet Me At The Creek” kicked off Sunday’s second set. Next came “Secrets,” one of three songs from the recently released Billy Strings album Renewal played in the frame, including the “Know It All” that followed a run of “99 Years Is Almost For Life,” “Wargasm” and “Home Of The Red Fox.” Strings and company then performed John Hartford’s “No End Of Love” for the first time. The beloved Grateful Dead trifecta “Help On The Way”/”Slipknot!”/”Franklin’s Tower” saw action next ahead of a set-closing “Red Daisy.”

Billy Strings opened a two-song encore with the location-appropriate Charlie Moore cover “I’m Leaving Detroit,” a song last played back on December 28, 2019. The quartet then concluded the concert with Bill Monroe’s “Big Mon.” Watch fan-shot video footage from last night’s show below:

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Setlist (via Billy Strings Set List Page)

Set One: Ol’ Rickard [1] > Reuben’s Train [1], Brown’s Ferry Blues [2], Pyramid Country > Must Be Seven, Away From the Mire, Highway Hypnosis, Manzanita, Taking Water, Watch It Fall, Likes of Me

Set Two: Meet Me at the Creek, Secrets, 99 Years Is Almost For Life, Wargasm, Home of the Red Fox > Know It All, No End of Love [3], Help on the Way [4] > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower, Red Daisy

Encore: I’m Leaving Detroit > Big Mon

  • [1] – Billy Strings Solo Banjo
  • [2] – Billy Strings Solo Guitar
  • [3] – Debut with Full Band – John Hartford
  • [4] – Jerusalem Ridge tease
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