Billy Strings Welcomes Paul Hoffman & Debuts New Song At Renewal Festival
The Greensky Bluegrass mandolinist sat-in on four songs to end the second set in Buena Vista after the guitarist premiered "My Sally."
Billy Strings capped the first night of his Renewal festival with two sets and an encore at Cottonwood Meadows in Buena Vista, Colorado on Friday. Strings premiered a new original entitled “My Alice” and jammed with Greensky Bluegrass mandolinist Paul Hoffman as part of last night’s second set.
The guitarist and his band featuring fiddler Alex Hargreaves, mandolinist Jarrod Walker, banjoist Billy Failing and bassist Royal Masat worked “Know It All” into traditional instrumental “Sally Goodin” to kick off the first set on Friday. “Know It All” appears on Strings’ 2021 album, Renewal, from which the multi-band event takes its name. The quintet went back to Renewal for a “Fire Line” that bled into a take on Frank Wakefield’s “End Of The Rainbow.”
Strings welcomed fans to the event following “End Of The Rainbow” and thanked fans for attending the second annual Renewal. “It’s just such a beautiful spot, so don’t tell anybody,” Billy joked. The guitarist nodded to the event in the ensuing “Gone A Long Time” changing the opening line from “Heading south to Georgia, four shows in a row” to “Going to Renewal, two shows in a row.” Next, Renewal cuts “Show Me The Door” and “Red Daisy” were split by the instrumental original “Bronzeback” and cover of The Stanley Brothers’ “Bound To Ride.”
The band went heavy on covers to end the 16-song first set last night in Colorado. A run of Jimmie Rodgers’ “Miss The Mississippi And You,” Doc Watson’s “The Train That Carried My Girl From Town” and the traditional “Black Mountain Rag” was followed by Renewal’s “Love And Regret.” Billy then led the band through Tony Rice’s “Tipper” and the beloved original “Dust In A Baggie” before ending the frame with a take on Flatt & Scruggs’ “Doin’ My Time.”
Last night’s second set began with a well-jammed “Meet Me At The Creek.” The nearly 20-minute opener was followed by the tender “Enough To Leave,” one of five songs from Strings’ Grammy-winning 2019 LP Home played within the closing stanza. “Thirst Mutilator” came next and gave way to Home standout “Running.” Billy then went with “Hellbender,” the evening’s last Renewal offering and returned to Home for “Everything’s The Same.”
The set rolled on with the debut of new original “My Alice.” Strings introduced the song by asking, “Would it be alright if we tried a new one?” The artist born William Apostol sang the melancholy tune he wrote. From there, Billy led his crew through Home gem “Highway Hypnosis.” Strings then brought out Paul Hoffman. “A couple of Michigan boys way out in these hills,” the guitarist told the crowd as phoff took the stage. Hoffman joined the quintet for a seamless run connecting “Must Be Seven,” “Pyramid Country,” “Spinning” and “Thunder” to close the set. The latter features words written by late Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter put to music by Strings. phoff delivered a number of solos throughout his lengthy guest spot.
Billy Strings brought the first night of Renewal to its conclusion with a “Freeborn Man” encore. A livestream of Strings’ sets at Renewal later today is available via nugs.net. The broadcast starts at 7 p.m. MT.
Watch pro-shot video of the “Know It All” into “Sally Goodin” that opened below:
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Setlist (via BillyBase)
Set One: Know It All > Sally Goodin, Fire Line > End Of The Rainbow, Gone A Long Time , Show Me The Door, Bronzeback, Bound To Ride, Red Daisy, Miss The Mississippi And You, The Train That Carried My Girl From Town > Black Mountain Rag, Love & Regret, Tipper, Dust In A Baggie, Doin’ My Time
Set Two: Meet Me At The Creek, Enough To Leave, Thirst Mutilator > Running, Hellbender, Everything’s The Same, My Alice , Highway Hypnosis, Must Be Seven  > Pyramid Country  > Spinning  > Thunder 
Encore: Freeborn Man
-  – “Going to Renewal for two nights in a row” lyric change
-  – First Time Played – New song
-  – With Paul Hoffman on mandolin