26-year-old phenom is testing age-old boundaries with head-thrashing live shows
Watching guitarist Billy Strings onstage is akin to observing a hummingbird in its natural state.
Strings’ fingers zoom up and down the fretboard of his acoustic in an intricate and calculated frenzy. The scene may appear haphazard at first, but he’s in complete control, determinedly chasing that cosmic moment of improvisation.
“I grew up playing bluegrass with my dad. That’s how I cut my teeth when I was a little kid, and how I learned how to play music. But I learned how to perform when I was in a metal band, and that energy stuck with me,” Strings tells Rolling Stone. “There’s a lot of speed in both [bluegrass and metal]. When I think of Earl Scruggs on banjo, or some really fast bluegrass banjo, you can almost relate that to really fast metal or Slayer or something. It makes me feel almost the same thing — it’s fucking speedy.”