Billy Strings – Renewal

Billy Strings - Renewal



4.7/5 Pros

  • Very high quality music
  • Versatile sounds
  • 16 songs / 71 minutes Cons

  • Few similarities between the songs

Billy Strings is releasing his third solo album on 24th September 2021. As the predecessor lead to a Grammy Award, there is quite some focus on Renewal. I was curious about the album and had a listen.


Billy Strings – About The Artist

Billy Strings’ civil name is William Apostol. He was born on 3rd October 2021 in Lansing, Michigan. He early went into the bluegrass genre, also as his stepfather was a regionally known bluegrass artist. His nickname Billy Strings has been given to Apostol by his aut, as he is a multi-instrumentalist. Strings initially supported a local mandolin player on stage. He gained more and more attention, so that in 2017, the Rolling Stone magazine listed him in their New Country Artists To Know. While he had released two albums with Don Julin before, he released his solo debut album Turmoil and Tinfoil the same year. The album made it into the US Bluegrass Top 3.

Strings’ major breakthrough, however, was his second album, Home. The 2019 release did not only top the US Grass and US Heat Charts, but also lead to a Grammy for the Best Bluegrass Album.


Billy Strings – Renewal – Track by Track

The sixtten song album lasts 71 minutes.

1. Know It All

Strong banjo picking and some fiddle tunes at the beginning of RenewalKnow It All definitely comes with a racy start. Nice, catching sound from the very first second – very good work on the instruments as well. Promising opener.

2. Secrets

Again, Billy Strings honors his nickname in Secrets. The finger play the banjo fast – and only the fiddle here and there seems to slow down the atmosphere a bit. Fascinating work on the instrumental side, the vocal part of the songs feels to be a bit too much in the background to me here and there.

3. Love And Regret

After two songs with a very fast tempo, Love And Regret slows down the speed of the album significantly. This also leads to a stronger focus on the vocal part of the song. Really nice listen.

4. Heartbeat of America

According to Billy Strings, the Heartbeat of America lasts 6.21 minutes – that’s at least the playtime of the fourth track. The first three minutes of the song are instrumental. After a melodic intro, the song has a touch of rock music, also due to the scattered guitar riffs. A very special atmosphere.

5. In The Morning Light

The reflection about the beginning of the day is again majorly defined by its chords and melodies. Billy Strings just uses lyrics, where needed. Beautiful song, which feels to make you head into a beautiful, sunny day.

6. This Old World

Storytelling with words again: regarding the style, This Old World is rather close to the two opening tracks. Maybe a bit slower than the speedy opener – but really quick feet are required if you want to dance to this one.

7. Show Me The Door

Show Me The Door is one of the songs, which is closest to traditional country music. You could even feel some soft rock tunes. A song which I like more and more after listening to it multiple times.

8. Hellbender

The Hellbender is actually not as dark as you would imagine. The song in fact has a typical Billy Strings melody with a strong banjo touch. A very good listen.

9. Red Daisy

Red Daisy comes with some impressive work on the fiddle and the banjo again. The joy of playing on this album is amazing. Even though I am not too much into bluegrass, these tunes really catch me from the very beginning.

10. The Fire On My Tongue

A quick, less than three minute ditty. You got all kinds of songs in here – slow or fast, short or long. But I am still looking for the category “bad song”. Haven’t found one yet – and the entertaining The Fire On My Tongue is definitely no candidate.

11. Nothin’s Working

Slow or fast, short or long? Nothin’s Working is rather short and slow. A very deep song, which also feels to give you a very intimate listening experience – even though the tempo of the song feels to speed up a bit towards the end. The song has a very special touch – great listen.

12. Hide and Seek

The album is versatile. Few songs are a bit of similar – but overall, each has its own character, adds something to Renewal. Hide and Seek is already special due to its sheer duration – 9:26 minutes is quite a blast (I am just listening to about a seventh of the album in one song…). Needless to say that the song travels through very different sounds and sections. Again, Strings is putting a lot of emphasis on the instrumental parts. Sometimes the track is a bit too epic to me – even though it is high quality music.

13. Ice Bridges

Ice Bridges is fully instrumental – vocals are just used as background elements. Some parts of this track have a strong touch of psychedelic (soft) rock to me. I am not that much into these parts – but others are really cool – the finish reminds my of typical saloon music, for example.

14. Fire Line

Fire Line is one of the coolest songs to me. Is this bluegrass? Or is it Americana rock? Hard to determine a genre here – but it defintiely comes with elements which lead to a great listening experience.

15. Running The Route

This Running The Route is another instrumental track. Nice bluegrass at high speed and a lovely groove. Very modern sound as well.

16. Leaders

The album closes with Leaders, which really comes with a farewell touch, due to its slowly moving sounds. Beautiful sound at the end of the album.


Billy Strings – Renewal – Track by Track

Here is Renewal on Spotify:


Billy Strings – Renewal – Track by Track

There are so many different kinds of music in Renewal. Surely, most of the sounds are in that bluegrass-country style. But you also find rock, pop, even a bit of folk. Nonetheless, the album does not feel random, but follows a clear structure and concept. Last, but not least, you get 16 songs and 71 minutes of high-quality music when you decide to buy Billy Strings’ 2021 release. In my point of view, this is a rather easy decision.


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