Me / And / Dad

Billy Strings

Me / And / Dad

Billy Strings quickly and decisively established himself as a new guitar god with his 2017 bluegrass-adjacent debut, Turmoil & Tinfoil, further solidifying that status with 2019’s Grammy-winning LP Home and 2021’s Grammy-nominated Renewal. For Strings, though, his stepfather, Terry Barber—who taught him to play the instrument—is the family’s true guitar hero. The two get to live out their father-son duo dream on Me / And / Dad, a collaborative covers album Strings and Barber recorded during one of Strings’ brief breaks from touring. Across 14 tracks, Strings and Barber offer up their own takes on the bluegrass, gospel, and old-time songs they love best, doing so with an all-star band that includes Jerry Douglas, Michael Cleveland, and Rob McCoury. Another prominent player on the LP is Barber’s old Martin guitar, which Strings tracked down and purchased for him after Barber had pawned the instrument during a time of financial struggle. Highlights on the album include a spirited version of The Stanley Brothers’ “Stone Walls and Steel Bars” and a stirring rendition of the George Jones song “Life to Go,” on which Barber takes lead vocals. Strings may as well already be in the bluegrass history books, and this document of his formative musical education is a fascinating, excellent glimpse at how he got there.

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