Billy Strings is a celebrated American guitarist, instrumentalist, and bluegrass artist acclaimed for his distinctive and captivating musical style. He received the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album in 2021 for his work on the album “Home.”
Billy Strings’ Family
William Apostol, known as Billy Strings, was born on October 3, 1992, in Lansing, Michigan. Tragically, his birth father, Billy Apostol, passed away from a heroin overdose when Billy was just two years old. After this loss, his mother, Debra Apostol, remarried Terry Barber, a skilled amateur bluegrass musician. The family initially moved to Morehead, Kentucky, before eventually establishing their home in Muir, a small Michigan town. Both Billy’s stepfather and uncle were accomplished musicians, exposing the young artist to acoustic music from a very early age.
While Billy was still a preteen, his parents became addicted to methamphetamine. He left the family home at the age of 13 and went through a period of hard drug usage. His family eventually achieved sobriety; Billy stopped using hard drugs and drinking alcohol.
Billy’s stepfather, Terry Barber, immersed himself in the Michigan bluegrass scene as a picker, although he pursued it as a non-professional endeavor. Terry significantly shaped his son’s musical journey by exposing him to traditional bluegrass from an early age. Billy was introduced to the works of influential artists such as Doc Watson, Del McCoury, David Grisman, Bill Monroe, John Hartford, Ralph Stanley, Earl Scruggs, and Larry Sparks. In addition to bluegrass, Terry’s musical interests extended to rock and metal, with influences ranging from Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Widespread Panic, Phish, and Grateful Dead to Def Leppard, Between the Buried and Me, and Black Sabbath. During his teenage years, Billy, under his father’s guidance, played guitar, and the two often jammed together in both hard rock and indie rock bands. Billy’s early exposure to playing rhythm in bluegrass bands showcased his remarkable dexterity and technique, drawing attention to his musical prowess.
Billy Strings’ Career
Billy Strings began his professional career in 2012, when Don Julin, a mandolin player from Traverse City, Michigan, and author of Mandolin for Dummies, asked Strings to join him on a paying gig. The partnership lasted for the next four years. Rolling Stone recognized Billy as one of the Top Ten New Country Artists to Know in 2017. On February 12, 2018, Rolling Stone published an article titled “Bluegrass Prodigy Billy Strings Plots 2018 Spring Tour”, On February 12, 2018, Rolling Stone published an article titled “Bluegrass Prodigy Billy Strings Plots 2018 Spring Tour, describing him as one of the latest and exceptional guitar pickers in the bluegrass world. In 2016, Billy Strings won the honor of Best Instrumentalist of the Year from the International Bluegrass Music Association. He also collaborated with Molly Tuttle on the songs “Sittin’ on Top of the World” and “Billy in the Lowground”.
In 2016, Billy Strings was recognized as a scene tastemaker by the Bluegrass Situation. The following year, Acoustic Guitar featured him among six emerging bluegrass stars, and his album “Turmoil & Tinfoil” secured the third spot on the Billboard Bluegrass charts in September. Joining Rounder Records in June 2019, Strings released his album “Home,” produced and engineered by Glenn Brown, which became his most successful release. It claimed the No. 1 position on the Heatseekers Albums and Bluegrass Albums charts and debuted at No. 11 on the Emerging Artists Chart. In March 2018, PBS announced Strings as the inaugural performer at the new cave for the renowned series Bluegrass Underground in Pelham, Tennessee. In September 2019, he was honored as the International Bluegrass Music Association Guitar Player of the Year in Raleigh, North Carolina. At the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, his album “Home” won the Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album.
In 2021, Billy Strings collaborated with Bill Kreutzmann’s Billy & the Kids for several shows, featuring James Casey on saxophone. As a solo artist, he participated in the Newport Folk Festival in July 2021. His third studio album, “Renewal,” was released on September 24, 2021. On October 3, 2022, Strings revealed his upcoming album, “Me/And/Dad,” a collaborative project with his father Terry Barber. At the 2022 International Bluegrass Music Awards, he garnered six nominations and won Entertainer of the Year for the second consecutive year, with his song “Red Daisy” securing the title of Song of the Year. Billy Strings received four nominations at the Americana Music Honors & Awards, presented annually by the Americana Music Association to recognize excellence in Americana and American roots music.
Billy Strings’ Net Worth
Billy Strings has accumulated an impressive net worth of $5 million through his career in bluegrass music. His earnings come from various sources, including the sale of records and albums, live performances, tours, shows, and live streaming. With a YouTube channel initiated about 11 years ago, boasting over 250 thousand subscribers and 289 uploaded videos, Strings has established a substantial presence in the digital realm as well.