Billy Strings Debuts New Songs & Grateful Dead Cover At The Déjà Vu Experiment Night 2

By Nate Todd Feb 20, 2021 9:40 am PST

Billy Strings continued his The Déjà Vu Experiment livestream concert run at The Capitol Theatre on Friday night. The guitarist debuted a slew of new originals as well as a Grateful Dead cover for night two of the six-show stand.

Billy and the band — bassist Royal Masat, mandolinist Jarrod Walker and banjoist Billy Failing — got things underway with the debut of “Red Daisy.” After romping through the bluegrass number, a traditional sounding tune that could have been debuted 100 years ago, the band got into some jamming leading into Johnny Cash’s “Big River,” a song the Grateful Dead covered as well. After Walker and Failing took rides, Billy got into his first extended solo of the night, which featured droning notes interlaced with some quick runs here and there before ramping it up and heading back into the song to close it out. Billy then remarked, “I don’t remember the last time we played that song, maybe if ever.” Strings did perform the song last May with Cris Jacobs as Psychedelic Circus at the Aiken Bluegrass Festival.


Billy then addressed the internet audience: “We hope you folks are doing well and hanging in. Watching the stream and listening to the music. Tapping in and sticking your antennas out. Sending images through the atmosphere to our pal Dave Bruzza [of Greensky Bluegrass] tonight.” Strings referenced his recreation of the Grateful Dead’s ESP Experiments during their Capitol Theatre run 50 years ago, which Billy’s shows are in commemoration of. Oteil Burbridge was the previous night's receiver. Strings then got into another bluegrass traditional favorite in the Jerry Garcia/David Grisman canon, “Shady Grove.” Billy continued on with Tony Rice’s instrumental “Tipper” followed by his own “Hollow Herat” ahead of the Grateful Dead’s “Wharf Rat,” which the guitarist unveiled during his 2020 Cap run and which GD also debuted at the storied venue. The traditional “These Old Blues” followed ahead of the set closer, another debut, this time a song called “Hellbender.”

The second set got going with yet another new original, a song called “Secrets,” before getting into some material from the subject of the ESP Experiments’ band with Greensky Bluegrass’ “Letter To Seymour.” Next, Billy debuted a stellar cover of the Garcia/Hunter composition, “Loser,” a song the Grateful Dead also debuted at The Capitol Theatre in 1971. A trio of covers followed in the form of Doc Watson’s “The Train That Carried My Girl From Town” which led into the traditional fiddle tune “Black Mountain Rag.” Gordon Lightfoot’s “Cold On The Shoulder,” also covered by Tony Rice, came next.


Billy then returned to original material with the title track to his Grammy-nominated 2019 album, Home. Strings and company then played the GSBG number “Wings For Wheels” to cement the ESP Experiment ahead of JJ Cale’s “Ride Me High” (a song Billy has performed with Widespread Panic). Strings and the band would bring the evening to a close with the fourth original debut of the evening, a song called “Know It All.”

Watch Billy Strings unveil “Red Daisy” and perform “Big River” below via the JamBase Live Video Archive:

Billy Strings (See 97 videos)
Billy Strings (See 738 videos)

Setlist (via Billy Strings Setlist Page)

Set One:Red Daisy (1), Big River (2), Shady Grove, Tipper, Hollow Heart, Wharf Rat, These Ol Blues, Hellbender (1)

Set Two: Secrets (1), Letter to Seymour, Loser (3), Train That Carried My Girl From Town > Black Mountain Rag, Cold on the Shoulder, Home, Wings For Wheels, Ride Me High, Know It All (1)


  • (1) FTP – Billy Strings Original
  • (2) LTP – Psychedelic Circus @ Aiken
  • (3) FTP – Garcia/Hunter
JamBase Collections