The Beatles are one of those rare musical acts that defy both genre and generation. Despite breaking up over 50 years ago, The Fab Four are still one of the most covered bands in history. So, while at first glance it might seem surprising for a bluegrass musician like Billy Strings to cover a Beatles song, it really isn’t that strange at all.
On the contrary, the banjo and upright bass fit remarkably well into the upbeat Beatles tune. And considering Billy Strings unveiled the new addition to his set during his London debut at Rough Trade East, the cover of “I’ve Just Seen a Face” is even more fitting. Check out the 41:40 mark in the video below to watch:
A huge fan of The Fab Four, Billy Strings includes a Beatles jam in almost every concert. Everything from “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” to “Rocky Raccoon” to “And Your Bird Can Sing” has made an appearance at a Strings show.
Billy Strings Honors The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead With Covers
The Beatles are only one legendary musical group from which Billy Strings draws inspiration. It’s true that playing at least one Beatles song is a live show staple for the young bluegrass musician. However, he also throws in Jimi Hendrix and The Grateful Dead now and then for good measure.
Take his recent performance at the KeyBank State Theatre, for example. Fans were treated to performances of hits from Cher, The Beatles, and The Grateful Dead, just to name a few. Though his sound is unmistakably bluegrass, Billy Strings is a well-rounded music lover, drawing inspiration from every genre he can.
“I never set out to be the best singer,” Billy Strings said. “My goal was just to master expressing myself through bluegrass music and so many of those players just sing how they talk. When I grew up, I learned that I liked Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin, so that influenced me too.”
Along with Johnny Winter’s gorgeous guitar playing having a “big impact” on him as a budding musician, Billy Strings also cites Pink Floyd as a major influence. “The psychedelia of Pink Floyd was really interesting, you know,” Billy Strings said. “Like as a young kid with a very imaginative mind, listening to the album The Dark Side of the Moon was like watching a movie.”
And then, of course, there’s heavy metal. “I never learned how to perform in a bluegrass band,” Strings recalled. “I learned how to perform in a metal band, I learned music by playing bluegrass when I was a little kid. But by the time I was doing it on stage it was in a metal band. We were headbanging and running all over the place. I still can’t help but get into the music like that. I can’t just stand there and play.”