Marcus King & Billy Strings give the jazz classic “Summertime” a bluesy note

Two of my favorite boys: Mark King and Billy Strings.

This is a little throwback to 2019, when the duo visited Carter Vintage Guitars, the legendary Nashville guitar shop, to cover the classic “Summertime”.

Video has just had a resurgence tick tockand i forgot how damn good this video was.

Composed by George Gershwin, with lyrics by DuBose Heyward, the song was originally written for the opera in 1935 Porgy and bess.

It was recorded for their album by Billie Holliday in 1936, Sam Cooke in 1957, Ella Fitzgerald in the ’60s and others including Don Julin and Billy Strings in 2013. rock of the times.

They give it a folk touch while keeping aspects of the original melody. Now, with Marcus King in the mix, you’ll get a bluesy Appalachian vibe.

And boy, do these two know how to jam?

Both are so in tune with the music that it is intoxicating to watch. In the first minute of the video they just pull the intro with phenomenal guitar playing.

Strings feature in the lyrics and it’s no surprise that he nails the vocals.

You have to watch the whole video for yourself.

Billy Strings hosts Doc Watson’s 100th birthday concert

Billy Strings needs no more introductions.

Fresh off a hugely successful 2022 releasing his bluegrass masterpiece Me / and / Dad Along with his father, consecutive nights of sold-out shows at iconic venues around the world, and collaborations with high-profile artists across multiple genres, Billy Strings aims to carry this record-breaking, groundbreaking momentum into 2023.

And just a few days later, it appears to be off to a great start.

Back in November, Billy announced his shows for winter 2023 with 20 shows in 9 spread across the country. During the tour, he will play two or three nights in most of these cities at historic, intimate locations like the Georgia Theater in Athens, GA and the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, as well as huge arena shows and everything in between.

However, one stop on his tour seems to somehow stand out from the rest. Not necessarily because of where it’s set or the city it’s set in, but because of the circumstances surrounding the show.

On the first night of his back-to-back shows in early March in Winston-Salem, NC, Billy Strings and several special guests will reunite to celebrate the life of bluegrass legend Doc Watson on his 100th birthday.

Watson was born on March 3, 1923 in Deep Gap, North Carolina, a small mountain town outside of Boone, NC and about an hour northwest of Winston-Salem. Blinded by an eye infection at a young age, Watson defied all odds and still became one of the most respected musicians of his time.

Known for his picking styles and skills, as well as his endless knowledge of American traditional and folk music, Watson’s guitar playing has been a major influence on many bluegrass guitarists, including Billy Strings, who frequently covers Watson’s work during his live performances. .

If you’re unfamiliar with Watson’s music, chances are you’ve still been influenced in some way by his musical legacy. The seven-time Grammy Award winner was the founder of MerleFest, a massive country music festival in North Wilkesboro, NC named after his late son and frequent collaborator Merle Watson. The festival began in 1988 and has continued every year to this day, having hosted the likes of Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Sturgill Simpson and many, many more over the years.

Additionally, Watson found popular bluegrass/folk act Old Crow Medicine Show performing on a street corner in Boone, NC and was instrumental in launching her long-running career. But after a bad fall at his home in 2012, Watson was rushed to a hospital in Winston-Salem, NC, where he eventually died, leaving behind a successful career and a lasting impact on the bluegrass genre.

As part of Doc Watson’s 100th birthday celebration, Billy Strings will be inviting several special guests from the bluegrass world to join him on the stage at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, and he ended up taking to Instagram to announce who these artists were going to be earlier this week.

“You’re invited! I can’t wait to celebrate Doc Watson’s 100th birthday with these very special guests: Bryan Sutton, Molly Tuttle, T. Michael Coleman, Jack Lawrence, Wayne Henderson & Jack Hinschelwood, hosted by Ted Olson.

This is going to be one for the books, get your tickets while you still can.”

While all of the guests are fantastic musicians who will be thrilling to play with Billy Strings, Bryan Sutton is one of the most accomplished. Sutton first gained recognition playing alongside Ricky Skaggs for his flatpicking skills, the same guitar playing style that Watson excelled at. Throughout his career he has played with almost every bluegrass great, as well as hitmakers like the Dixie Chicks.

Personally, I’m most excited about Molly Tuttle joining Strings. Another modern artist at the forefront of this recent bluegrass revival, Tuttle’s 2022 album slate tree featured a song featuring Billy Strings and was one of my favorite albums of the year. I just saw her play at the Ryman on New Year’s Eve and she’s even better live.

It’s always cool to see artists pay tribute to their influences and the great artists who paved their way, but to see Billy Strings and so many other talented musicians celebrate the 100th birthday of one of the greatest bluegrass musicians of all Celebrating times makes something special really special.

Billy Strings had a spectacular 2022, and it seems like 2023 will be no different. But no matter how great the year has been for him, I’m sure those two shows at Winston-Salem will be one of the highlights. Get your tickets while you still can!

And while we’re on the subject, check out this video of Doc Watson playing Tennessee Stud in 1979.

And Billy Strings performed Watson’s “Streamline Cannonball” live in Boston last March. Marcus King & Billy Strings give the jazz classic “Summertime” a bluesy note

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