A (recently) Grammy Award winning artist who is recording an album with his father – sounds like a story which might be worth a listen, doesn’t it? It is the story of Billy Strings and his fourth studio album overall, Me/And/Dad. The album has been released on 18th November 2022.
Billy Strings – About The Artist
Billy Strings was born on 3rd October 2022 in the capital of Michigan, Lansing. He is majorly doing bluegrass music, but sometimes also touches outlaw country and roots rock. He turned into a professional artist in at the age of 21. One of his inspirations was his stepfather Terry Barber, who is an accomplished amateur bluegrass musician. In fact, Barber is Billy Strings’ stepfather, his father died when William Lee Apostol, Billy Strings’ civil name, was two years old. In 2017, Strings released his debut album Turmoil and Tinfoil, which peaked third in the US Grass charts. His biggest success so far was the 2019 album Home. It did not only top the US Grass and Heat charts, but also won a Grammy for the Best Bluegrass Album in 2021. The same year, Strings released the album Renewal, which again made it to the top of the US Charts.
Billy Strings – Me/And/Dad – Track by Track
The fourteen song album lasts 45 minutes.
1. Long Journey Home
The first song is a joyful three minute high speed banjo-ing track. The verses feel a bit like traditional blues with a lot of repetitions. A nice example of instrumental mastery.
2. Life To Go
The second song slows down significantly compared to the opener. This leads to a stronger country music touch in the track. Nice song, which seems to be to so simple and handmade at first sight. However, the more you listen to it, the better the write feels.
3. Way Downtown
Way Downtown is right in between the two single releases opening the album. On the one hand, there are the joyful, quick melodic lines on the banjo and the fiddle. On the other hand the song is based on a traditional country music sound. One of my favorite songs.
4. Little Blossom
Little Blossom combines the bluegrass touch and the banjo play with an underlying waltz rhythm. This leads to a very traditional feeling and makes you sway to the rhythm of the dance vibes.
5. Pear Tree
Pear Tree reminds my of my review of the Renewal album, in which Billy Strings created a lot of magic with instrumental sounds. This fifth song of Me/And/Dad is another proof that you can create musical magic without vocalists.
6. Stone Walls
The rather short (2:08 minutes) Stone Wallls comes with traditional country vibes. Again, the banjo and the fiddle are are dominating the sound of the song. Beautiful listen.
7. Little White Church
The seventh track Little White Church comes with influences of blues and gospel. The melody is very catching, the vocal part is unfortunately less present.
8. Dig A Little Deeper
Bluegrass fans will love songs like Dig A Little Deeper. The song is catching and spreads its vibes from the very first moments. Entertaining 3:14 minutes.
9. Wandering Boy
Like on Little White Church, Terry Barber takes over the role of the leading singer. This is also one of the reasons why the album feels very versatile and entertaining, even if you are not a die-hard bluegrass listener. The slower Wandering Boy has a stronger touch of traditional country tunes anyway.
10. John Deere Tractor
Hey mama, here is a letter from your son are the opening words of this slow song with a rather glum feeling. John Deere Tractor thereby is the longest song of the album, lasting some 4:30 minutes. Father and son match nicely as duet vocalists in the chorus.
11. Frosty Morn
The second instrumental on the album, Frosty Mom, rather feels like a folk track. At least, it is strongly inspired by Celtic melodies. Nice one.
12. I Haven’t Seen Mary In Years
The vibe of I Haven’t Seen Mary In Years also feels to be a great match for a bar or saloon. I see some shanty qualities in it.
13. Little Cabin Home On The Hill
The song feels to seemlessly fit into the album. I am especially fascinated by the instrumental skills as well as how well – again – the two vocalist match as a duet.
14. Heard My Mother Weeping
How could a family project close better than with a family song? In the melancholic Heard My Mother Weeping, the role of the lead singer is taken over by Strings’ mother, while the other family members just take over backing vocal duties. Great way to close this.
Billy Strings – Me/And/Dad – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
Billy Strings – Me/And/Dad – My View
Me/And/Dad is a lovely family project – with an impressive finale. Billy Strings and his father present a wide range of songs, which feels very entertaining from the very first to the last minute. Really nice listen.
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