Billy Strings Nominated for Best Bluegrass Album Grammy: ‘I Never Expected This’

by Clayton Edwards

On Tuesday, bluegrass virtuoso Billy Strings took to his Instagram account to announce that his 2019 album “Home” had received a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album. Along with the announcement, Strings took time to congratulate his band, team, and fans for the nomination as well as to thank his followers for their love and support.

Who Is Billy Strings?

BIlly Strings is a 28-year old musician from Traverse City, Michigan. He has been playing traditional bluegrass music since he was in elementary school. Strings learned to play from his dad, Terry Barber, and cut his teeth on traditional music.

In 2012, a Traverse City-based mandolin player Don Julin invited Strings to join him for a gig. Their partnership lasted for four years and produced one album. After that, Billy Strings shared the stage with a diverse crowd of musicians. He has played alongside Dierks Bentley, The Marcus King Band, David Grisman, Greensky Bluegrass, Widespread Panic and many more.

The name Billy Strings is often mentioned alongside the biggest names in alternative country. Take a look at the comment section of any Tyler Childers, Colter Wall, or Sturgill Simpson video on YouTube. You will likely find commenters talking about or recommending Strings’ music.

Dust in a Baggie

“Home” was nominated for a Grammy and his 2017 album “Turmoil and Tinfoil” charted well. However, his best-known track is, without a doubt, “Dust in a Baggie.” For many, a YouTube video featuring an impromptu performance of the song was their introduction to Strings’ breakneck brand of bluegrass.

In the video, Strings’ offscreen friend urges him to play the new song he wrote. What follows is a blindingly fast bluegrass tune that bridges the gap between traditional and modern music. His influences include bluegrass greats such as Doc Watson and Tony Rice. He also draws inspiration from the time he spent playing rock and heavy metal in his teenage years.

Strings’ Other Accolades

While this is his first Grammy nomination, it is not the first award bestowed upon him. In 2016, the International Bluegrass Music Association gave him the Momentum Award for Instrumentalist of the Year. In 2019, the same association voted him Guitar Player of the Year.

Strings has also received positive press from a variety of outlets including “Rolling Stone,” “Acoustic Guitar,” and “HuffPost.”

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