Skip to main content

Steamboat Magazine

Cultivating WinterWonderGrass: Billy Strings

12/13/2017 12:26PM ● By Alesha Damerville

Image from

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – “If I was truly myself on stage all the time I would offend people; people would think it was unprofessional. I have to simmer down a little bit,” says Billy Strings on the progression of his career since his early days playing in his middle-school metal band. “I can’t just go out there and say what I really think all the time because people didn’t come to hear that, they came to hear me play some music.”

Image from Sam Shinault

Although his genre has changed to bluegrass, metal still encompasses Strings’ stage presence. “I have said or done some things on stage to piss off an audience member here or there; I had to learn from those things,” Strings says. “I learned how to make a presentable show out of respect for the audience; I’ve progressed as person. I grew up in a small town, and as I got older I learned to have more respect for things, like the people around me and this planet.”

Strings describes his sound as “bluegrass, but aggressive and progressive.” “When I was younger, I listened to a lot of traditional bluegrass,” Strings says. “I didn’t know who the Infamous Stringdusters were, I didn’t hear Greensky and I had no idea who Yonder Mountain String Band and Leftover Salmon were, until only a few years ago really. I was sort of a ‘grasshole’ back then. The first time I heard a lot of progressive stuff like that, I used to have a different frame of mind. I’ve really opened up. I think there’s a lot of things that helped me. Realizing that music is just music, it’s boundaryless and you can go play traditional bluegrass, but you can also write your own songs. You can also make weird covers of other people’s music or play rock and roll songs with a banjo. It’s music; I don’t think anyone should try to pigeonhole it.”

Image from

Strings is joining WinterWonderGrass Steamboat for a second year. “We love playing Colorado;  it’s so easy,” he says. “We travel all over the place, but there aren’t many festivals where you can go skiing all day, then go down and play a gig. I’m excited to get out there and play, so many true music fans there. People that really want to come out to hear your music. As soon as you walk on stage you just know it. That’s what’s so awesome about WWG – I love looking out seeing the face-painted naked dude dancing, the Deadheads and everyone freaking out and having fun.”

“Also, there is an epic lineup. I’m really excited to see Greensky Bluegrass and Fruition,” Strings says. “I wasn’t sure if they were both playing but they had to be – that’s how stacked the lineups are at WonderGrass.”

Image from Sam Shinault

Averaging 200 gigs a year since 2015, Billy Strings is touring everywhere, but you can catch him at WinterWonderGrass this February.

For more information on Billy Strings, visit

For more information on the festival, lodging and ski passes visit

Photo from httpwwwwinterwondergrasscom

Growing WinterWonderGrass - 10/17/2017 10:08

The masterminds behind WinterWonderGrass add new Public Pick feature to the festival Read More » 


Images from Buffalo Commons

Cultivating WinterWonderGrass - 11/27/2017 16:30

Exclusive interviews from the WinterWonderGrass Festival artists


Images from Missed the Boat

Cultivating WinterWonderGrass - 12/07/2017 11:49

Exclusive interviews with the WinterWonderGrass Festival artists Read More »