Check out the latest in cross-genre collaboration, and no, I’m not talking about Ben Shapiro and Tom MacDonald’s rap song. At a show in Nashville, TN on January 23, iconic post-metal band Tool brought up bluegrass guitarist Billy Strings to join them for their song “The Grudge.” Considering that both metal and bluegrass have their roots in blues, it’s a more appropriate team-up than you might think, as Strings proved when he absolutely nailed his solo part. You can see that in this video that a fan captured.
Strings is a rising star in the bluegrass scene. He’s put out three albums and won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album in 2021 for his record Home. According to a profile of him in the New York Times, the musician’s father taught him bluegrass music and Black Sabbath songs while his mother frequently blasted Santana or Soundgarden around the house. So it would seem that the bluegrass wunderkind has a little bit of rock and metal influence as well.
The recent performance marks the second time that Tool has invited Strings up to perform with them. The band brought up Strings to perform the song “Jambi” with them at a performance in Salt Lake City back in October. The excited guitarist posted on Instagram about how much of an honor it was to play guitar with a band he admired:
“having me up on a tune last night. It was such an incredible honor to pluck a few notes with you legends!!!! I’m never coming down from this one #buckerstratridesagain #ifikeepdoingthesesitinsmaybeillactuallylearbhowtoplayelectricguitar #jambi #zambi // @leonardlamangano naughty naughty”
Considering that Tool has invited Strings up to perform with them twice now, it might signal the beginning of an ongoing collaborative relationship between the band and the young bluegrass artist. Perhaps we’ll see him plucking his guitar—or better yet, his banjo—whenever Tool gets around to releasing their next album.
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