Billy Strings’s Vilar show is sold out, but tickets for his new-school bluegrass might still be available
If you go
What: Billy Strings
When: Friday, Aug. 30, 8 p.m.
Where: The Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek
Cost: Sold out, resale tickets may be available
More information: Visit vilarpac.org or call 970-845-8497
With two solo records to his name, Billy Strings sits as a principal player in modern bluegrass. Rolling Stone bestowed upon him titles such as “prodigy” and “the bluegrass star you don’t want to miss.” His fleet-fingered guitar flatpicking brings an energetic intensity to the stage, and will be on display at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Friday, Aug. 30. The show is at 8 p.m. and sold out.
Strings’ stage name comes from a nickname given to him by his aunt. He grew up listening to bluegrass with his father, and took a detour into hard rock and metal bands before returning to his roots. The Michigan native was awarded the 2016 Momentum Award for Instrumentalists of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association.
In 2017, Strings released his debut album, “Turmoil & Tinfoil,” which reached No. 3 on the Billboard Bluegrass charts. He already had one record out in 2014, “Fiddle Tune X,” a collaboration with Don Julin. The 26-year-old has shared the stage with Dierks Bentley, Del McCoury and Sam Bush. He’s also toured with genre favorites Greensky Bluegrass, The Infamous Stringdusters and Leftover Salmon.
In addition to his finger-picking prowess, Strings is a songwriter with much to say about the state of world. Songs like “Dealing Despair” aim to serve as a commentary on America’s normalized culture of violence.
“The further I get along in my career, the less I care about the band itself and money and fame,” Strings said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “Now I feel like I’m starting to have a platform where I can make positive change. I think it’s important for artists to focus on that right now. I’m not trying to write songs for the radio. I want to make art that might strike a nerve with somebody.”
That politically-fueled songwriting ethos infuses punk rock into bluegrass, and has helped Strings push the genre forward while staying true to the spirit of American roots music.
The show is sold out, but resale tickets may still be available for dedicated fans. Interested parties can search social media – the Facebook group Eagle County Classifieds would be a good place to start – or ask around for tickets.
Richardson has shot for the magazine since 1984, and his work is up for public viewing at multiple locations in the area.