Billy Strings to Rounder Records

Rounder Records President John Strohm, Billy Strings, and Rounder Vice President of A&R Gary Paczosa

Rounder Records in Nashville has announced the signing of bluegrass and acoustic music sensation Billy Strings, with a new album, Home, set for release on September 27.

No single artist has electrified the bluegrass scene like Billy, the young guitarist, singer and songwriter, who first appeared in a duet team with veteran Michigan mandolinist Don Julin in 2013. Also a Michigan native, Billy learned the ways of the bluegrass from his stepfather, who took him from an early age to the many festivals and picking sessions around the state. Picking up the guitar as a youngster, he was introduced to the classic music of Doc Watson and Tony Rice, but was also drawn to the rock and metal scene as a teen, and studied the playing of Jimi Hendrix as well.

Those many influences gave the young Billy (real name William Apostol) a respect for the traditions of bluegrass, but also a fierce desire to push beyond them to make his own music. From the rock world he took the showmanship which is a staple of his live performances, which involve as much head banging and hair flipping as they do G-runs.

The nickname took hold after his aunt referred to him as Billy Strings for his ability to pick up any stringed instrument and make music, and it has stuck like glue. Just 26 years old, Mr. Strings has found a huge, also largely youthful audience who flock to his concert and festival appearances all over the country. He works about 200 dates each year, and this upcoming Rounder project will mark only his second studio recording under his name.

Rounder President John Strohm says that he thinks this multifaceted artist fits in perfectly with the traditions of the company.

“Rounder has set a very high bar in its nearly 50 years of presenting some of the best virtuosic acoustic music of all time. Billy is not only an instrumentalist to rival the finest talents on Rounder’s historic roster, but he’s also a phenomenal singer, writer, collaborator, and live performer. It is our great honor and privilege to have the opportunity to work with such a brilliant, innovative young artist to complement Rounder’s outstanding musical tradition.”

Billy and his touring band – Billy Failing on banjo, Royal Masat on bass, and Jarrod Walker on mandolin – cut the new record this past January over six days at Blackbird’s famous Studio D, with another week at Zac Brown’s Southern Ground in Nashville. Guest artists include Molly Tuttle, Jerry Douglas, and John Mailander.

Look for more details on Home as the summer progresses.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.