Trains & Animals: Billy Strings Plays Themed Sets In Tampa

The guitarist’s 29-song performance on Saturday at Tampa’s Yuengling Center featured a pair of themed sets.

By Scott Bernstein Apr 15, 2024 7:55 am PDT

Billy Strings opened his spring tour with a two-night stand at Tampa’s Yuengling Center on Friday and Saturday. The Tampa finale on Saturday, April 13 featured a pair of themed sets as Strings and his band devoted the first set to train songs and the second set to songs about or mentioning animals.

The idea of presenting train and animal-themed sets is one Strings has long pondered. The guitarist brought up the concept last month during his latest Ask Me Anything session on Reddit.

Advertisement

Billy Strings and his band — bassist Royal Masat, fiddler Alex Hargreaves, mandolinist Jarrod Walker and banjoist Billy Failing — took the stage as sounds of train whistles played over the PA. The quintet launched the 12-song, all-cover opening stanza with takes on Larry Sparks’ “Slow Train” and The Seldom Scene’s “Old Train.” Strings and company then offered the full band debut of the Elizabeth Cotten-penned gem “Freight Train.”

The train set continued to roll down the tracks with a run of Ralph Stanley’s “Ridin’ The Midnight Train” as well as the Doc Watson arrangements of James Jett’s “Greenville Trestle High” and Roy Acuff’s “Streamline Cannonball.” Next came the group’s first rendition of Norman Blake’s “Last Train From Poor Valley” since September 24, 2022 — a span of 148 shows. Billy Strings and his bandmates ended the frame by reeling off Larry Sparks’ “I’d Like To Be A Train,” Gussie Davis’ “The Baggage Coach Ahead,” Charlie Monroe’s “Bringin’ In The Georgia Mail,” Blackfoot’s “Train, Train” and Phish’s “Back On The Train.”


00:05:40
00:14:25
Billy Strings (See 97 videos)
Billy Strings (See 734 videos)

The band came out of the gates for the second set by performing the original “Living Like An Animal.” From there, they took on the traditional tale of an 1800s horse race entitled “Molly And Tenbrooks.” The tune was the first of four 2024 debuts in a row that also included the traditional “Forked Deer,” Bill Monroe’s “Goodbye Old Pal” and Arthur Collins’ “The Preacher And The Bear.” Strings then led his ensemble through his own “Love And Regret” with its lyrics mentioning “a raven,” “an owl” and the “lonesome coyote howl.”

Billy Strings’ animal-focused frame moved along with a pairing of the traditional “Sheeps In The Meadow” and Johnny Horton’s “Ole Slewfoot.” The five-piece then delivered Failing’s instrumental ode to his dog, “Charlie’s Birthday Breakdown,” before tackling The Beatles classic “And Your Bird Can Sing.” Strings followed with a solo takes on the traditional “Groundhog” and his first-ever performance of Merle Travis’ “Muskrat.”

The rest of the band returned to the stage to accompany Billy Strings on Jimmie Driftwood’s “Tennessee Stud,” the Old & In The Way-popularized “Pig In A Pen” and a cover of John Hartford’s “All Fall Down” to close the animal-themed set. Billy Strings wrapped the special show in Tampa with an encore featuring beloved originals “Away From The Mire” and “Dust In A Baggie.”

View fan-shot video from Billy Strings’ Saturday night show in Tampa below:


00:00:00
Lawn Boy
Billy Strings (See 734 videos)
Advertisement

00:00:00
Gary Clarke (See 4 videos)
Billy Strings (See 734 videos)

00:00:00
Dave Burton Films & Art
Billy Strings (See 734 videos)

The tour continues on Wednesday night in Savannah, Georgia. Watch all remaining shows live or on-demand for free with a nugs.net subscription.

Loading tour dates

Advertisement

More Billy Strings

  • Billy Strings Joins Primus At Sessanta Tour Stop In Tennessee

    Billy Strings Joins Primus At Sessanta Tour Stop In Tennessee 

  • How To Watch All 13 Billy Strings Spring Tour 2024 Concerts Live

    How To Watch All 13 Billy Strings Spring Tour 2024 Concerts Live 

  • Billy Strings Wants To Jam With King Gizzard, Turned Down Sturgill Simpson & More Learned From Ask Me Anything Session

    Billy Strings Wants To Jam With King Gizzard, Turned Down Sturgill Simpson & More Learned From Ask Me Anything Session 

  • Billy Strings Plugs In Support For Low-Income Housing In Grand Rapids

    Billy Strings Plugs In Support For Low-Income Housing In Grand Rapids 

Setlist (via BillyBase)

Set One: Train Intro [1], Slow Train, Old Train, Freight Train [2] [3], Ridin’ That Midnight Train, Greenville Trestle High, Streamline Cannonball, Last Train From Poor Valley [4],I’d Like To Be A Train, The Baggage Coach Ahead, Bringing In The Georgia Mail, Train Train, Back On The Train

Set Two: Living Like An Animal [5], Molly And Tenbrooks, Forked Deer, Goodbye Old Pal [6], The Preacher & The Bear, Love and Regret, Sheeps In The Meadow [7], Ole Slewfoot, Charlie’s Birthday Breakdown, And Your Bird Can Sing, Groundhog [8], Muskrat [8] [9], Tennessee Stud, Pig In A Pen [3] [10], All Fall Down

Encore: Away From The Mire, Dust In A Baggie

  • [1] – The 1st set had a train theme and was comprised of all train songs
  • [2] – Last Time Played 2018-07-21 | 595 show gap
  • [3] – FTP with full band
  • [4] – Last Time Played 2022-09-24 | 148 show gap
  • [5] – The 2nd set had an animal theme and was comprised of all animal songs
  • [6] – Last Time Played 2022-10-06 | 142 show gap
  • [7] – Last Time Played 2023-03-03 | 101 show gap
  • [8] – Billy Strings solo
  • [9] – FTP – Merle Travis
  • [10] – Last Time Played 2020-05-01 | 349 show gap
JamBase Collections