Listen To Billy Strings Debut Twangy ‘Tulsa Time’ Cover In Tulsa
Also, watch official video of “Slow Train” and “Hide & Seek” filmed at Tulsa’s BOK Center.
Billy Strings hit the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Wednesday. The guitarist and his band debuted a cover of the Danny Flowers-penned, Don Williams-recorded “Tulsa Time” toward the end of the second set.
Billy Strings and company launched the first set with their “Train Intro,” which blasts train noises over the PA. The band then surged into “Slow Train.” Billy led the way with bassist Royal Masat keeping the chugging bassline. Banjoist Billy Failing took the first solo ahead of a smoking mandolin run from Jarrod Walker. Billy then laid into a rapid-fire ride for the third solo slot before kicking it over to Alex Hargreaves for a train whistle stop run. The quintet then played a little “Hide & Seek.” Strings captained a 15-minute, first set exploration on the tune off his 2021 album Renewal.
Billy leaned heavily on his latest studio album, also performing “While I’m Waiting Here,” which led into J.J. Cale’s “Ride Me High.” Another cover, Johnny Winter’s “Ain’t Nothing To Me,” came next before the quintet returned to Renewal with “Fire Line” and the Walker co-composed instrumental “Running The Route.” “Running” — off Billy’s Grammy-winning 2019 album, Home — sealed the three-song seamless sequence. “A Robin Built A Nest On Daddy’s Grave” from the Ralph Stanley repertoire followed ahead of “On The Line,” off Strings 2017 LP Turmoil & Tinfoil, before the band bookended the set with “Train 45.”
Renewal’s “Know It All” kicked off the second frame followed by more Stanley Brothers in “Ralph’s Banjo Special.” The band then paired up “Crown Of Thorns,” from grunge progenitors Mother Love Bone, with a nearly 12-minute “Wargasm.” A trio of covers followed beginning with a climb through Doc Watson’s “Peartree,” which Billy included on the 2022 collaborative album with his father Terry Barber, Me / And / Dad. Next came the Jeff Austin-co-written, Dierks Bentley-recorded “Fiddling Around” ahead of Larry Sparks’ “John Deere Tractor.”
A standalone “The Fire On My Tongue” off Renewal then proceeded a rollicking “Doin’ Things Right,” which surpassed the 10-minute mark. The latter surged into the “Tulsa Time” debut. Penned by Nashville songwriter Danny Flowers while stuck in Tulsa during a snowstorm with country artist Don Williams, Flowers reportedly banged out “Tulsa Time” in half an hour in his hotel room and it would become a No. 1 for Williams in late 1978. Eric Clapton also recorded a subsequent version after jamming on the tune with Flowers and Williams after his concert in Nashville not long after Williams released it.
Billy’s rendition saw the guitarist leading the way vocally ahead of Hargreaves taking a stab at the tune on fiddle followed a twangy banjo solo from Failing. Strings then added a little twang of his own before Walker trilled out a quick mando run ahead of the final chorus. Billy’s take on J.D. Crowe and The New South’s version of Utah Phillips’ “Rock Salt & Nails” prefaced a rousing “Heartbeat Of America,” which spanned 13 minutes. The second set came to a close with Doc Watson’s rendition of Roy Acuff’s “Streamline Cannonball.”
Strings, Walker, Masat, Failing and Hargreaves returned for a single mic encore that began with Carter Stanley’s “The Lonesome River,” which made its 2023 debut in Tulsa. The lone mic favorite “If Your Hair’s Too Long, There’s Sin in Your Heart” counted as the penultimate song of the evening before the band wrapped things with the Bill Monroe-recorded traditional “Roll On Buddy, Roll On.”
Billy Strings rolls on to St. Louis on Friday. Sign up for a free seven-day trial of the nugs.net service to livestream St. Louis and more. Listen to last night’s show below with a nugs account:
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Setlist (via BillyBase)
Set One: Train Intro, Slow Train, Hide and Seek, Cabin Song, While I’m Waiting Here > Ride Me High, Ain’t Nothing To Me, Fire Line > Running The Route > Running, A Robin Built A Nest On Daddy’s Grave, On The Line >Train 45
Set Two: Know It All, Ralph’s Banjo Special, Crown Of Thorns Wargasm, Peartree, Fiddling Around, John Deere Tractor, The Fire On My Tongue, Doin’ Things Right > Tulsa Time, Rock Salt & Nails, Heartbeat Of America, Streamline Cannonball
Encore: The Lonesome River, If Your Hair Is Too Long, There’s Sin In Your Heart, Roll On Buddy, Roll On
-  FTP – Don Williams
-  Band around single mic