The West Michigan native continues to turn heads nationally as he prepares to release a full-length debut album in September. Read his reaction and check out the title track from his new recording.
SCROLL DOWN TO LISTEN TO THE TITLE TRACK FROM THE UPCOMING ALBUM
Beyond the eye-popping acoustic guitar wizardry that’s electrified Michigan audiences for years, Billy Strings has always exuded a dark and edgy power with his flat-picking bluegrass prowess – a quality that helps propel his upcoming new album, “Turmoil & Tinfoil.”
As a result, the Ionia native and one-time Traverse City-based guitarist who now calls Nashville home has impressed fellow musicians and critics everywhere he’s gone – and this week, he got a major nod from one of the music industry’s biggest media outlets.
Rolling Stone magazine named Billy Strings, aka William Apostol, one of “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know,” praising the musician for unleashing “the head-banging speed of a thrash metal band channeled through flat-picked guitar” and describing the title track from the new album as “a dark, spiraling jam.”
The magazine also recounted Apostol’s history of playing in a metal band and getting into trouble while growing up in Ionia, turning to bluegrass and moving to Traverse City where he paired up with mandolinist Don Julin, and idolizing his father, Terry Barber, who makes a guest appearance on the new album which officially gets released Sept. 22.
Apostol, 25, also compared heavy metal music to bluegrass – “fast and hard and driving like that; it makes your heart race.” Check out the rest of the Rolling Stone feature online at rollingstone.com and listen to the title track of the new album below.
“I got really excited when my manager called and said we had an interview with Rolling Stone,” Apostol said. “I’m just a kid from a small town man, all this is unreal. I’m constantly floored by the amount of encouragement and support I get from my friends, fans, family and fellow musicians in this musical community and without all of them … I would not be able to pull this off. You all make me the luckiest man I know.”
Other acts cited in the “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know” listing include pop-country singer Makayla Lynn, atmospheric Americana artist Becca Mancari, country-rock’s Brandon Lay and the pop-hued Tristen.
The recognition comes after Apostol late last year earned an “Instrumentalist of the Year” award from the International Bluegrass Music Association during its Momentum Awards show.
“In Nashville, there are a hundreds of musicians that pick circles around me,” Apostol insisted. “That’s what I love about It. I did not move to Nashville in hopes to make it big as some dreamy country music star, I came because this is where all my people are. I came here to pick! I have so many friends here that also play in bands or are somehow involved in the industry. When we’re all home from tour, we have parties and cook dinners and play music in somebody’s kitchen until the sun comes up. I am proud of all of us.”
Billy Strings is crisscrossing the country with his band this summer and fall, making an Aug. 20 tour stop in northern Michigan for the Hoxeyville music festival in Wellston.
“I do miss Michigan every day though. My family, the scenery and the lakes. Can’t wait for Hoxeyville,” he said. “My plan it to just keep my head down and keep playing music. We’re a touring band, we stay on the road. I just got to keep doing what I’m doing and let the world take me at its own pace, like a leaf on a river. Who knows where I’ll end up.”
LISTEN: Billy Strings, “Turmoil & Tinfoil”
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