Local Spins asked Billy Strings fans to choose their favorite songs. We took the Top 10 picks and turned it into a classic playlist of modern bluegrass prowess. Plus, see who won our Billy Strings gift packs.
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When Local Spins asked Billy Strings fans from across the country to pick their favorite songs by the Ionia County native and bluegrass guitar virtuoso, the list grew quickly.
Readers cited more than two dozen different tracks — from early entries such as “Dust in a Baggie” that Billy once performed and recorded with mandolinist Don Julin to a brand new collaboration with country legend Willie Nelson (“California Sober”) — while lauding not only the guitarist’s prodigious instrumental skills but his compelling, insightful and poignant lyrics.
Thousands of fans will embrace all that live at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31 at Grand Rapids’ Van Andel Arena when Billy Strings and an all-star cast (Molly Tuttle, Sierra Hull, Mark Lavengood, John Mailander, Bill Nershi, Chris Pandolfi, Duane Trucks) perform a special homecoming show. Remaining tickets – $39.50 – available online here.
“His songs often draw from personal experiences and rural life, adding a genuine and relatable quality to his music. His lyrics are often introspective and emotionally charged, adding depth to his music and allowing listeners to connect on a personal level,” noted fan Jim Bond of Grand Rapids, who also hailed the guitarist’s “reverence for bluegrass and its traditions” while being unafraid “to experiment and push the genre’s boundaries.”
Anthony Tambersky described “While I’m Waiting Here” as “both poetic and heart-wrenching. I cannot hear it without tearing up. It’s tragic and beautiful at the same time.”
And Jamie Duitsman may have spoken for many fans when he wrote: “It’s hard to choose one song as Billy is one of those artists that you can listen to from start to finish of whatever album or show you choose to experience.”
As tough as it may be to choose, there were some clear favorites when Local Spins compiled the “votes” by fans who submitted entries with “Away from the Mire” (from 2019’s Grammy Award-winning “Home”) coming out on top, followed closely by the aforementioned “Dust in a Baggie” and 2017’s “Meet Me at the Creek” and “Turmoil & Tinfoil.”
Check out the Spotify playlist below, along with videos of the Top 10 picks.
Also, we decided to pick not one, but two, winners from those who submitted song entries and entered our drawing for special Billy Strings gift packs. Drum roll, please:
Malcolm Golia wins the top gift featuring a Billy Strings T-shirt, Billy Strings vinyl LP of “Me/And/Dad,” a pair of Billy Strings socks and Local Spins swag, including a T-shirt and stickers. The second winner: Jamee Valdez-Welch, who wins the “Meet Me at the Creek” board game inspired by Billy Strings (with metal goat-head pawns/tokens), as well as some Local Spins merchandise.
THE TOP 10
1. “Away from the Mire”
2. “Dust in a Baggie”
3. “Meet Me at the Creek”
4. “Turmoil & Tinfoil”
5. “Long Forgotten Dream”
6. “California Sober” (with Willie Nelson)
7. “Taking Water”
8. “While I’m Waiting Here”
9. “In the Morning Light”
10. “Must Be Seven”
THE BILLY STRINGS PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY: The Fans Top 10
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