Billy Strings Joins Widespread Panic At The Ryman

By Andy Kahn Aug 25, 2019 7:51 am PDT

Widespread Panic welcomed Billy Strings to The Ryman Auditorium stage on Saturday during the band’s second show of a three-night acoustic run at the famed Nashville venue. Strings’ literal sit-ins — the band is seated for the acoustic shows — came at the end of the evening’s first set and in the middle of the second set.

The first set included a bust out offering of Willis Alan Ramsey’s “Geraldine And The Honeybee” for its first performance since 2012, nearly 400 shows ago. Strings emerged after a cover of Talking Heads’ “Heaven” to assist on a performance of The Dillards’ “There Is A Time,” marking just the third time the song has appeared in a Panic setlist. The guest guitarist stuck around for “Blackout Blues,” which closed the first set.

Frontman John Bell went solo to open set two, playing banjo on a version of “Ribs And Whiskey” that interpolated parts of “Milk And Cookies” and “Silent Night.” Keyboardist John “Jojo” Hermann and percussionist Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz then came out for “Imitation Leather Shoes” with JB only providing vocals. The full band then worked through “Big Wooly Mammoth” and “Blue Indian” before calling Strings back onstage.

Strings accompanied a cover of Billy Joe Shaver’s “Chunk Of Coal.” The extra guitarist remained for “Airplane,” which segued into “Ride Me High.” WSP closed the set out with “Vacation” and “Ain’t Life Grand,” the latter featuring JB on mandolin. Following Friday’s rarities trend, the encore was made up of the first WSP performance of “When You Coming Home” in nearly 300 shows and their first performance of Neil Young’s “Heart Of Gold” since 2016.

The band concludes their acoustic Ryman run tonight. A free audio live stream is available via the WSP YouTube channel. Watch audience-shot video from Saturday via karmacare1 below:

Heaven, There Is A Time > Blackout Blues

Chunk Of Coal

Airplane > Ride Me High (partial)

Heart Of Gold

Setlist (via PanicStream)

Set One: I’m Not Alone, Makes Sense To Me, Happy, Geraldine And The Honeybee, Gradle, Wondering, Heaven, There Is A Time* > Blackout Blues** (50 mins)

Set Two: Ribs And Whiskey***, Imitation Leather Shoes****, Big Wooly Mammoth > Blue Indian, Chunk Of Coal**, Airplane** > Ride Me High**, Vacation, Ain’t Life Grand***** (74 mins)

Encore: When You Coming Home, Heart Of Gold (12 mins)


  • * with Billy Strings on guitar and vocals
  • ** with Billy Strings on guitar
  • *** with JB solo on banjo (Milk and Cookies / Silent Night version)
  • **** with JB (vocals only), JoJo, and Sunny
  • ***** with JB on mandolin
  • – ‘Geraldine and the Honeybee’ LTP 2/17/12 Aspen (396 shows)
  • – ‘When You Coming Home’ LTP 4/01/14 TRI Studios (297 shows)
  • – ‘Heart of Gold’ LTP 6/25/16 Red Rocks (132 shows)

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