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Billy Strings Calls “All Aboard” With All-Train Songs & All-Animal Songs Sets In Tampa [Videos]

billy strings calls all aboard with all train songs all animal songs sets in tampa videos

Billy Strings dropped a runaway “train”-themed first set followed by a beastly second set of “animal” songs on Saturday for his second of two shows at Tampa, FL’s Yeungling Center. Judging by the crowd’s reception, they were certainly all aboard for the ride to experience the musical menagerie.

Pulling out of the station by playing train noises over the PA as they took the stage, Billy and his stellar band featuring Billy Failing, Jarrod Walker, Royal Masat, and Alex Hargreaves took every type of train through the grand bluegrass catalog. During the set, they went on Larry Sparks’ “Slow Train”, The Seldom Scene’s “Old Train”, and Elizabeth Cotton’s “Freight Train” before joining Ralph Stanley to go “Ridin’ That Midnight Train”. From some imaginary far-off station Strings, then caught Roy Acuff’s “Streamline Cannonball” before ending up on Norman Blake’s “Last Train From Poor Valley”.

Billy Strings — “Slow Train” (Larry Sparks), “Old Train” (The Seldom Scene) [Pro-Shot] — 4/13/24

Billy Strings got a little personal and admitted, like Larry Sparks said, “I’d Like To Be A Train” before hitting Gussie L. Davis‘ “Baggage Car Ahead” and looking to the Peach State for Fred Rose‘s “Bringing in the Georgia Mail”. The set then erupted into boxcar bedlam with Blackfoot‘s rocking “Train, Train” before the coup de grâce came with Phish‘s “Back On The Train”, after which Billy and his fellow raggedy hobos collected their stuff, exited, and gave the road-weary crowd and themselves a set break. After giving his trainspotting fans a certified, ticket-punched first set Billy and company set their inner animal selves free for their second set theme.

Like the first set, the second set’s song selection relied heavily on Strings’ obsessive knowledge of bluegrass history—with covers making up 80% of Saturday’s show (thank you to BillyBase for crunching the numbers). Strings turned the page way back into the annals of mountain music lore, plucking an array of traditional songs dating back to the 19th century. Some of the tunes were brought into the wider consciousness by bluegrass pillars Bill Monroe (“Molly And Tenbrooks”) and Doc Watson (“Groundhog”), and Strings treated them with the same reverence as originals by Jimmie Driftwood (“Tennessee Stud”) and Johnny Horton (“Ole Slewfoot”).

Strings and his band even managed to work a couple of their own tunes, like “Love And Regret” and Billy Failing instrumental “Charlie’s Birthday Breakdown”, in the mix alongside nods to true songwriting masters like John Hartford (“All Fall Down”). Heck, even relatively unknown bluegrass acts like *checks notes* The Beatles (“And Your Bird Can Sing”), got a hat tip in this beastly second set. Billy got so dog-tired during this that he had to have himself a seat for a few solo acoustic tunes (“Groundhog”, “Muskrat”).

Having had their more structured fun throughout the two sets, Billy and company gave the fans a couple of their fave Strings’ catalog classics, “Away From The Mire” and “Dust In A Baggie”, as their much-appreciated encore. From the sheer volume of dancing that erupted in the audience, it’s fortunate that the show was happening indoors because the dust cloud that would’ve been kicked up in an outdoor venue surely would have posed a health risk to anyone within earshot.

Ending the night by shouting out each of his sidemen, Billy Strings quickly autographed a hat that had been tossed onstage, winged it back out into the crowd, gathered his tired but cheery bandmates for a collective bow, and rode off down the tracks to howl at the moon. With next weekend’s shows just down the road in St. Augustine and strong Florida connections in the band and crew, it’s more than likely they will stay in the Sunshine State for a little rest, relaxation, and a few solid days of fishing. Given the extra amount of effort they put into working out such intensive and imaginative setlists, they certainly earned themselves a bit of a break after the last couple nights of stellar showmanship.

Check out a collection of videos from Billy Strings’ train and animal songs show in Tampa from Robbie Massengillnugs subscribers can rewatch last night’s show on demand, as well as tune in to complimentary livestreams of Billy’s entire spring tour. [Editor’s Note: Live For Live Music is a nugs affiliate. Ordering your nugs subscription or purchasing a download via the links on this page helps support our coverage of the world of live music. Thank you for reading!]

Billy Strings — “Groundhog” (Traditional) — 4/13/24

Billy Strings — “Pig In A Pen” (Arthur Smith Trio) — 4/13/24

Billy Strings — “Away From The Mire — 4/13/24

Billy Strings — “Dust In A Baggie — 4/13/24

Setlist [via BillyBase]: Billy Strings | Yuengling Center | Tampa, FL | 4/13/24

Set One: Train Intro, Slow Train (Larry Sparks), Old Train (The Seldom Scene), Freight Train (Elizabeth Cotton), Ridin’ That Midnight Train (Ralph Stanley), Greenville Trestle High (James Jett), Streamline Cannonball (Roy Acuff), Last Train From Poor Valley (Norman Blake), I’d Like To Be A Train (Leroy Drumm, Pete Goble), The Baggage Coach Ahead (Gussie L. Davis), Bringing In The Georgia Mail (Fred Rose), Train, Train (Blackfoot), Back On The Train (Phish)

Set Two: Living Like An Animal, Molly And Tenbrooks (Traditional), Forked Deer (Traditional), Goodbye Old Pal (Cliff Carlisle), The Preacher & The Bear (George Fairman), Love And Regret, Sheeps In The Meadow (Traditional) > Ole Slewfoot(Johnny Horton), Charlie’s Birthday Breakdown, And Your Bird Can Sing (The Beatles), Groundhog (Traditional), Muskrat (Harold Hensley, Tex Ann, Merle Travis), Tennessee Stud (Jimmie Driftwood), Pig In A Pen (Arthur Smith Trio) > All Fall Down (John Hartford)

Encore: Away From The Mire, Dust In A Baggie

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Source: L4LM.com