Billy Strings didn't try to do anything specific on his upcoming album Home, whose track "Everything's the Same" is premiering exclusively on Billboard today (Sept. 5). The genre-hopping 14-song set, out Rounder Records, is diverse enough for Strings to feel like that mission was accomplished.
"I always try to do that," the Michigan-born, now Nashville-based Strings (née Apostol) tells Billboard. "I listen to everything from bluegrass to classic rock to death metal. When I'm writing songs, it's about allowing the music to be in charge and not force a song to go in a particular direction, but more follow my heart. By doing that I end up writing songs that are different from each other and our albums jump all over the place."
"I really don't know what the hell I'm doing," he adds with a laugh, "but, I want it to be a broad spectrum of music — as long as it makes for a cohesive album and doesn't sound too crazy."
"Everything's the Same," meanwhile, hews to the bluegrass that's at the very root of Strings' brand of Americana. The song was started by his mandolin player Jarrod Walker and finished with Strings.
"It's just a good, fast-burning bluegrass song, which is pretty much Jarrod's forte," Strings says. "I loved the song ever since I first started playing it."
The song itself is about "a guy on a rampage. He can't be slowed down. He'll steal the nickel off dead people's eyes," according to Strings. It also features a dobro part by Jerry Douglas, one of several guests on Home. "That was a good hang with Jerry," Strings recalls. "He played on two songs, and he really lights things up."
Home, due out Sept. 27, was recorded with producer Glenn Brown — who also helmed 2017's Turmoil & Tinfoil — in Nashville, at both Blackbird Studios and Zac Brown's Southern Ground. Besides Strings' regular band, it also includes guest appearances by Molly Tuttle, fiddler John Mailander and tabla player John Churchville. The title, meanwhile, is meant to provoke a bit of thought from listeners.
"I think there's a whole spectrum of interpretations of the word 'home'," explains Strings, whose latest tour kicks off with a two-night stand Sept. 5-6 at Atlanta's Terminal West. "For some people it's a nice, warm, cozy house where they feel comfortable. For some people it's painful. Some people don't like the word home at all. I called the album Home because I'm 26-years-old and the band is doing alright and I'm starting to get over the anxiety of becoming an adult, and I'm starting to feel at home in my life. It's an open idea. It can mean anything to anybody."
Hear "Everything's the Same" below, and check out Strings' tour dates after the jump.
Strings' upcoming tour dates:
9/5 – Atlanta, GA – Terminal West 9/6 – Atlanta, GA – Terminal West 9/7 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theater 9/11 – Nashville, TN – Americanafest 9/15 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre 9/17 – Salt Lake City, UT – Commonwealth Room 9/19 – Crystal Bay, NV – Crown Room 9/20 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent 9/21 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent 9/22 – Santa Cruz, CA – Santa Cruz Sol Music Festival 9/26 – Portland, OR – Revolution Hall 9/27 – Portland, OR – Revolution Hall 9/28 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox 10/3 – Paso Robles, CA – Barrel House Brew Co. 10/4 – Los Angeles, CA – Lodge Room 10/6 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Music Festival 10/ – Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom 10/11 – Eureka Springs, AR – Hillberry Music Festival 10/13 – Tucson, AZ – 191 Toole 10/17 – Dallas, TX – Deep Ellum Art Co. 10/18 – Austin, TX – Scoot Inn 10/19 – Houston, TX – Last Concert Cafe 10/30 – Knoxville, TN – Bijou Theatre 10/3 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel 11/1 – Carrboro, NC – Cat's Cradle 11/2 – Carrboro, NC – Cat's Cradle 11/6 – Norfolk, VA – The NorVa 11/7 – Charlottesville, VA – The Jefferson Theater 11/8 – Charlottesville, VA – The Jefferson Theater 11/9 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club 11/10 – Asbury Park, NJ – Stone Pony 11/13 – Boston, MA – The Sinclair 11/14 – Boston, MA – The Sinclair 11/15 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl 11/16 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl 11/19 – Cleveland OH – Beachland Ballroom 11/21 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theater 11/22 – Chicago, IL – Concord Music Hall 11/23 – Covington, KY – Madison Theater