With a youthful and punk-fueled exuberance, picking and vocal capabilities that seem well beyond his years, and a heart steeped in traditional music, a live performance by William Apostol (aka Billy Strings) is truly an experience. High energy meets raw talent in an electrifying, twangy and sometimes dizzying way.
Apostol has made quite a name for himself in the bluegrass scene as a gifted guitarist out of Traverse City. He’s spent the last couple of years touring heavily with mandolinist Don Julin and playing the music he was brought up on as a kid. In late 2015, however, Apostol announced he was parting ways with Julin and moving to Nashville to embark on his solo career.
But he didn’t exactly venture off to the Music City blindly. In fact, it felt a bit like home before he even arrived.
“I already had a lot of friends down there,” Apostol said. “I already knew everybody that I felt like I needed to know. I feel like there was already this beautiful scene that was just waiting for me to get there, so I just kind of moved right in.”
wsg. Jesse Ray and the Carolina Catfish
Old Dog Tavern
402 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo
July 30, 8 p.m.
$12 advance, $15 day of show
And move right in he did, not only to a vibrant music scene, but into a house right next door to Lindsay Lou Rilko and Josh Rilko of Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys, resulting in a musical neighborhood that’s right up Apostol’s alley.
“They are my next door neighbors and my best friends in the whole world,” Apostol said. “It doesn’t matter where we’re hanging out, we’re always picking music. A lot of times right on our block we’ll have little parties and people will be at my house or Lindsay and Josh’s house. We’ll go back and forth from each house and a bunch of musicians will come over and we’ll have some beers, pick tunes and have fun.”
Besides acclimating himself to Nashville and touring, Apostol plans to continue working on some new, original material as well. And while the move and his hectic schedule have slowed down his writing a bit, he released a new EP on June 10 while continuing work on the full-length record.
“I’m still chipping away at it, but I’m really busy so it’s just trying to find time,” Apostol said. “I have this batch of tunes that I need to work up. That’s why I put this EP out, so I could have something out there to showcase what I’ve been up to as far as the sounds.”