Billy Strings Debuts Widespread Panic Cover & Joins Willie Nelson In Alpharetta

Strings' Outlaw Music Festival debut included his premiere take on "Pickin' Up The Pieces."

By Scott Bernstein Sep 10, 2022 7:40 am PDT

Billy Strings made his Outlaw Music Festival debut on Friday at Ameris Bank Amphitheatre in Alpharetta, Georgia. Strings honored Georgia’s own Widespread Panic by premiering a cover of the band’s “Pickin’ Up The Pieces” during his set and sat-in with headliner Willie Nelson at the end of the night.

The guitarist and his band were part of a bill in Alpharetta that also included Willie Nelson, Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit, Charley Crockett, Larkin Poe and Particle Kid. Billy took the stage at approximately 6:30 p.m. and played a 13-song set.

“Dust In A Baggie” opened before Strings, bassist Royal Masat, fiddler Alex Hargreaves, mandolinist Jarrod Walker and banjoist Billy Failing worked an extended “Pyramid Country” into “Away From The Mire.” Next up was the geographically-appropriate bluegrass cover “Bringing In The Georgia Mail.” Billy then paired “In The Morning Light” and “Heartbeat Of America” off his latest studio album, 2021’s Renewal.

The set continued with Billy Strings’ debut “Pickin’ Up The Pieces” cover. Walker shined on the third Widespread Panic original to be played by Strings and his band following the recently premiered “Fishing” and “All Time Low”. Billy handled lead vocals on the song Widespread Panic recorded for their 1993 studio album, Everyday, and took a stellar solo.

The Panic cover was followed by “I’ll Be Gone A Long Time” and a take on The Stanley Brothers’ “Rank Stranger.” Strings then fronted the band on oldie “Highway Hypnosis.” From there, the quintet offered their rendition of Eddie Noack’s “Psycho” and returned to Renewal for “Hide & Seek” ahead of a set-closing cover of Bill Monroe’s “Uncle Pen.”

Billy Strings emerged during Willie Nelson’s set later in the night for a medley of “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” and “I’ll Fly Away.” Jason Isbell, Charley Crockett and Larkin Poe’s Rebecca and Megan Lovell also contributed to the medley.

Watch fan-shot clips of “Pickin’ Up The Pieces” and “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?”/”I’ll Fly Away” below:

Will The Circle Be Unbroken? ~ I’ll Fly Away

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Setlist (via BillyBase.net)

Set: Dust In A Baggie, Pyramid Country > Away From The Mire, Bringing In The Georgia Mail, In The Morning Light, Heartbeat Of America, Pickin’ Up The Pieces [1], Gone A Long Time, Rank Stranger, Highway Hypnosis, Psycho > Hide & Seek [2], Uncle Pen

  • [1] – First Time Played: Widespread Panic
  • [2] – Feel Like A Stranger tease
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