Meet Billy Strings – Bluegrass Musician and Grammy Award Winner

By | May 28, 2024

Billy Strings is an American bluegrass musician and one of the top artists emerging across all genres of music. He was named "Top 10 New Country Artists to Know" by Rolling Stone in 2017. In 2021, his album Home won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album.

Billy Strings is an American guitarist and bluegrass musician

Billy Strings is an American guitarist and bluegrass musician

Early Life

Billy Strings was born on October 3, 1992, in Lansing, Michigan, and was named William Lee Apostol. He experienced a chaotic early life when his father passed away from a heroin overdose.

His mother remarried Terry Barber, an amateur bluegrass musician who greatly influenced Billy growing up. During Billy's early teens, his family relocated several times, including Morehead, Kentucky, and Muir, Michigan.

Unfortunately, his mother and stepfather struggled with methamphetamine addiction, which led to Billy leaving home at a young age. This hard environment also contributed to Billy's struggles with addiction.

Despite the challenges, he overcame his dependency on hard drugs and alcohol. Billy adopted a "California Sober" lifestyle, only using cannabis and light substances.

Eventually, he got his stage name, Billy Strings, from his aunt, who saw his ability to play multiple traditional bluegrass instruments.


Billy's career started in 2012 when Don Julin, a mandolin player, asked Strings to join him on a paying gig. The partnership became successful and lasted four years, setting up the stage for Billy to expand his connections.

In 2017, Billy was named "Top 10 New Country Artists to Know" by Rolling Stones. The next year, Rolling Stones published an article that praised Billy for his impressive guitar skills and rapid rise in the bluegrass world.

Besides Rolling Stones, Billy was noticed by the International Bluegrass Music Association, awarding him the Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year award in 2016.

In the same year, Billy was recognized by Bluegrass Situation as a scene tastemaker. Billy's Turmoil & Tinfoil album was also highlighted by Lisa Snedeker of HuffPost as one of the best albums of 2017, noting its peak at No. 3 on the Billboard Bluegrass charts.

He has released several albums and has a few collaborations with Terry Barber and Don Julin. His net worth is estimated at approximately $2 million.

Billy Strings with Terry Barber

Billy Strings with Terry Barber

Performances and Tours

Besides receiving recognition and acknowledgment from different bodies, Billy also had the privilege to share the stage with popular artists, including Dierks Bentley, Del McCoury, Bill Kreutzmann, Bob Weir, Larry Keel, Sam Bush, Greensky Bluegrass, and others.

Billy also performed in many music festivals, such as the Frankfort Bluegrass Festival and Hookahville.

He appeared on PBS musical TV programs like Austin City Limits and Bluegrass Underground. He also toured with famous bands like The Infamous Stringdusters, Greensky Bluegrass, and Leftover Salmon.


In 2019, Rolling Stone published another article featuring Billy Strings titled "Why Guitarist Billy Strings Is the Bluegrass Star You Don't Want to Miss." Later that year, Billy signed a contract with Rounder Records.

Under Rounder Records, Billy released his album "Home." With Glenn Brown engineering the album, it became Billy's most successful album.

It reached the No. 1 spot on both Heatseekers Albums and Bluegrass Albums charts. It even debuted at No. 11 on the Emerging Artists Chart. His album "Home" eventually won the Grammy for the Best Bluegrass Album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.

Billy Strings at the Grammy Awards

Billy Strings at the Grammy Awards

On September 24, 2021, Billy released his third studio album, "Renewal."

On July 3, 2022, Billy's touring band expanded when guest fiddler Alex Hargreaves was asked to join the band permanently. Currently, the band has Billy Failing on the banjo, Royal Masta on bass, Jarrod Walker on the mandolin, and Alex Hargreaves on the fiddle.

In October of the same year, Billy announced the album "Me/And/Dad." The album was a collaborative project with his stepfather, Terry Barber. Billy praised and credited Barber for raising him and teaching him essential skills in life, including playing the guitar.

"Me/And/Dad" was released in November 2022, featuring a collection of traditional country and bluegrass music. It featured songs by George Jones, Doc Watson, Hank Thompson, and others.

American Music Awards

During the 2022 International Bluegrass Music Awards, Billy was nominated for six awards and won the "Entertainer of the Year" award for two straight years. Billy's song, Red Daisy, also won Song of the Year.

  • 2020 Emerging Artist of the Year (Nominated)
  • 2021 Artist of the Year (Nominated)
  • 2022 Artist of the Year (Won)
  • 2023 Artist of the Year (Won)

Grammy Awards

  • 2021 "Home" Best Bluegrass Album (Won)
  • 2022 "Renewal" Best Bluegrass Album (Nominated)
  • 2022 "Love and Regret" Best American Roots Performance (Nominated)
  • 2024 "California Sober" Best American Roots Performance (Nominated)
  • 2024 "Me/And/Dad" Best Bluegrass Album (Nominated)
  • 2024 "High Note" Best Country Duo/Group Performance (Nominated)

Personal Life

Billy is married to Ally Dale. She is an American yoga instructor who promotes her yoga classes through her Instagram profile and carries classes in-person and via Zoom.

Billy Strings with wife Ally Dale

Billy Strings with wife Ally Dale

Ally had worked as Billy's tour manager since he started his career in 2013. However, she stepped back a few years ago to focus on yoga. The couple have been dating since 2014 and got engaged in May 2021. They tied the knot on September 9, 2023

Billy Strings has an elder half-brother named Patrick Lee Apostol. In November 2023, Patrick was arrested in connection to the death of musician Zackary Smith in Denver, Colorado.

Social Media Links

Check out these online links to learn more about Billy Strings.

Instagram - @billystrings
Twitter - @BillyStrings
Website -

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