Billy Strings' bluegrass picking is East Nashville's best-kept secret. Strings, also known as William Apostol, writes about his experiences living in the uninhabited American countryside on his new album, Turmoil & Tinfoil.
Claiming to infuse punk, heavy metal and psychedelia with bluegrass and Americana roots music, Billy Strings claims influence from alt-country artist Sturgill Simpson as much as heavy metal band Dead. Latin American flamenco accents, Jamaican influences and Celtic melodies are equally as significant on Strings' latest.
Turmoil & Tinfoil's title track begins with a melodic build-up of psychedelic electronic effects, while a muted rocksteady guitar chimes in with sea shanty lyrics and melodies. Starting with a quirky and deliberately informal live off-the-floor format, Bryan Sutton and Billy Strings' precise acoustic fast-paced flatpicking guitar breakdowns alternate on the instrumental track "Salty Sheep," while the American hysteria over extraterrestrial life provides the core theme of "Spinning," bolstered by spoken-word and more electronic effects. The roughly ten minutes of redundant, disjointed and incoherent noodling on "107," though, goes off-course and feels disconnected from the bluegrass roots genre.
That said, Turmoil & Tinfoil evinces a wondrous talent. Amid the greatest in bluegrass, the carefully crafted genre-weaving Strings does here should provoke plenty of new fans to engage closely with contemporary bluegrass. (Independent)