Friday saw the release of Turmoil and Tinfoil, the debut full-length LP from up and coming bluegrass artist Billy Strings. Billy Strings is the stage name of William Apostol who was born and raised in Ionia, MI. His father, Terry Barber, a local bluegrass musician gave him his first guitar when Apostol was four.
Bluegrass was not the first sound that Apostol played, he was a member of a metal band, To Once Darkened Skies, in middle school. Playing metal music was a good training ground for his bluegrass picking skills as he told Rolling Stone, "There's a similarity [between metal and bluegrass], not so much as far as the actual licks you're playing but just the sound of it.” As a high school student, Apostol found himself in a "dark place" but was able to find an outlet by rediscovering bluegrass music.
Following his high school graduation, he moved to Traverse City, where he found a mentor in local bluegrass artist Don Julin. The duo of Billy Strings and Don Julin became one of the country's hottest bluegrass acts, releasing two critically acclaimed albums. Apostol decided to start a solo career and moved to Nashville in 2015. He released a self-titled EP in 2016 and began to receive major accolades. This included the prestigious Instrumentalist of the Year from the International Bluegrass Music Association. Anticipation for Turmoil and Tinfoil was high and came from some impressive sources. Last month, he was named as one of the “10 Country Artist You Need To Know” by Rolling Stone.