Billy Strings is not afraid to let everyone know who his influences are. He’s very open about studying Doc Watson’s flatpicking style to develop his own. Furthermore, he folds a healthy dose of Tony Rice’s playing into this own. However, Strings also has a soft spot in his heart for classic and psychedelic rock.
For instance, he often plays Grateful Dead covers at his shows. Additionally, he and his band did a string of shows to pay tribute to the iconic jam band earlier this year. So, it makes sense for the flatpicking phenom to pay tribute to a guitar god like Jimi Hendrix.
Jimmi Hendrix passed away on September 18, 1970. On September 18th of this year, Billy Strings and his band played at Marymoor Park in Redmond, Washington. The venue is less than twenty miles from Hendrix’s hometown of Seattle. The stars aligned and Billy and the boys answered fate’s call.
Billy Strings and his band closed their show by ripping into an amazing cover of Jimi Hendrix’s 1966 classic, “Hey Joe.” Check out the video below.
Billy Strings made his name as a virtuoso bluegrass picker. However, this video shows that he is comfortable stepping outside of the genre that made him famous. His fans know that he runs his acoustic guitar through a series of effects pedals. This is how he was able to pull that perfect vintage rock tone out of his flattop box.
Billy Strings Makes a Classic His Own, Pays Tribute to a Legend.
If you listen to Billy Strings’ cover and Jimi Hendrix’s version of the song back to back, you’ll hear some differences. For instance, Billy’s effects are more pronounced while Jimi’s guitar tone is cleaner. At the same time, they approach the chord progression differently. Billy blends his bluegrass roots with rock guitar to make the song the song his own. Those who know will see the blend in the way he voices the chords and the scale positions he uses for the bulk of his leads.
Everyone in the crowd was on board with this great tribute. Throughout the video, you can hear the crowd singing along with the classic song. Additionally, when Billy Strings yelled, “Thank you Jimi,” just before the song ended, everyone in attendance goes wild. After all, they were watching a living legend pay tribute to their hometown hero. At the same time, they were watching Billy do what he does best: building a musical bridge between the past and present.
As if the performance wasn’t great enough, it was the final song of the set. So, Billy Strings and his band poured every ounce of energy they had left into their cover of “Hey Joe.” All in all, it was a wonderful tribute from one virtuoso to another.