Watch Billy Strings Debut Grateful Dead ‘Wharf Rat’ Cover On This Date In 2020
One year ago today, Billy Strings closed out a two-night stand at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York that marked the Michigan native’s debut at the famed venue. Strings, who returns to The Cap next month for his “The Déjà Vu Experiment” livestream series, shared pro-shot video featuring his first ever cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Wharf Rat” from the January 18, 2020 concert.
Billy, banjo player Billy Failing, mandolinist Jarrod Walker and bassist Royal Masat debuted their rendition of “Wharf Rat” during the evening’s second set. The venue was a fitting choice for the debut as “Wharf Rat” was one of five songs premiered by the Grateful Dead at The Capitol Theatre on February 18, 1971.
Strings infused plenty of emotion into his vocal delivery of the Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia-penned ballad, accentuating just the right words. Billy took a majestic solo to bring the band’s “Wharf Rat” cover to a close. The concert also featured the Billy Strings debut of “Jerry’s Breakdown,” an instrumental Jerry Garcia wrote for his bluegrass group, Old And In The Way.
Watch Billy Strings lead his band through “Wharf Rat” on this date in 2020 below:
Head to the JamBase Live Video Archive (JBLVA) for nearly 250 additional Billy Strings videos. “The Déjà Vu Experiment” kicks off on February 18 and consists of six livestream concerts. All six dates — which also include February 19, 20, 21, 23 and 24 — align with the 50th anniversary of the Dead’s historic 1971 run at The Capitol Theatre. Both the first and last night air for free through The Relix Channel on Twitch with the other four performances broadcast via FANS.