Bluegrass flatpicking rebel Billy Strings has released a new single from his upcoming album, a duet version of the classic song, Long Journey Home, sung with his dad, Terry Barber.
The whole project features Billy with his pop, who is the one who taught him to play when he was just a lad. And to make sure you get it, the record is titled, Me and Dad.
They brought in Gary Paczosa to co-produce with Billy, and headed to Nashville’s Sound Emporium Studio with Ronnie and Rob McCoury, Mike Bub, and Michael Cleveland. Other guests include Jerry Douglas and Jason Carter, plus Billy’s mom, Debra Barber, who adds her voice to one track.
If you know Billy’s story, there was much upheaval during his youth, when his parents, whom he dearly loved, became involved in drug abuse to such an extent that he left home as a young teen. But both have overcome their addiction, and now Strings says that he has made it a priority to get this record made.
“As long as I can remember, I wanted to make a record with my Dad. I’ve been burning up and down the highways the last 12 years, and as time slips away, you start thinking, ‘I need to make time.’ It’s been a bucket list thing for me, something I’ve been afraid I wouldn’t find the time to do. And that scared me; not doing this record scared me.”
All of the 14 tracks are familiar standards, though not all are traditional folk songs like Long Journey Home. The track listing reads like a jam list at most any parking lot or campground session, with selections from the catalog of heroes like Doc Watson, George Jones, Flatt & Scruggs, The Stanley Brothers, Larry Sparks, Carl Story, and more.
- Long Journey Home
- Life To Go
- Way Downtown
- Little Blossom
- Stone Walls and Steel Bars
- Little White Church
- Dig A Little Deeper (In The Well)
- Wandering Boy
- John Deere Tractor
- Frosty Morn
- I Haven’t Seen Mary In Years
- Little Cabin Home On The Hill
- Heard My Mother Weeping
The first single is played in as straightahead a grass style as you might ever want, with Billy singing lead and Terry adding tenor. Seeing the pure joy both men experience recording together is a delight, wholly apart from the music.
Long Journey Home is available now as a single from popular download and streaming services online. Pre-orders for Me and Dad, which will release November 18 on Rounder Records, are also enabled.