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Music

Post Malone and Billy Strings cover Johnny Cash

@TylerGolsen

Billy Strings is sneakily one of the most exciting young upstarts in music. If you don’t know him, it’s probably because of the genre he works in: bluegrass, which isn’t necessarily at the forefront of most people’s Spotify playlists. But Strings actually has more in common with Grateful Dead-esque jam bands and psychedelic rock than the traditional backwoods picking of bluegrass. You’d be just as likely to hear him sing ‘Brown Eyed Women’ over something like ‘Man of Constant Sorrow’.

Strings has quite the following among dedicated hippies and the occasional dirty wook. He also seems to have some famous followers, as proven by the fact that rapper Post Malone joined Strings on stage at the latter’s show in Santa Ana, California, on Wednesday night. Malone walks on with a beer and cigarette in hand, calls Strings “the best ever to fucking do it”, and looks ready to get down and dirty with his acoustic guitar.

Malone is no stranger to some acoustic affairs: he’s been known to break out a guitar every now and again, whether it’s for a Bob Dylan cover or a Nirvana live stream. Although he’s made his name in pop-rap, Malone has quite the fondness for folk, country, and blues. So when he was summoned to the stage by Strings, it only seems right that the unlikely pair would bust out a Johnny Cash classic.

‘Cocaine Blues’ is a hell of a song to take on too. Featuring a familiar Cash narrative featuring drugs, guns, murder, and eventual imprisonment, the track is about as pitch black as Cash’s more lighthearted material gets. Uptempo and jaunty, it’s no surprise that ‘Cocaine Blues’ found an amicable audience when Cash performed it during his famous stand of shows at Folsom Prison in 1968.

Admittedly, Strings looks slightly more in his element on the Cash cover than Malone does. Throwing out some of his signature lightning-fast licks, Strings actually doesn’t let his natural southern twang let loose on the vocals, ceding the spotlight to Malone. Posty clearly reveres the Cash tune, throwing out all of the song’s verses with ease. All told, it’s a fun, breezy cover that gives Strings a little mainstream visibility and shows off Malone’s classic country bona fides.

Check out Billy Strings and Post Malone covering ‘Cocaine Blues’ down below.