By Matt Wickstrom
Billy Strings made his long-awaited national television debut Monday night, performing “Taking Water” on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Strings’ TV debut on Kimmel was previously set for March 26, but was postponed in the days leading up to it at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Strings performed the lead track from his critically acclaimed 2019 effort Home from the Station Inn in Nashville, where he just wrapped up performing two nights at as part of his ongoing Streaming Strings virtual tour. Additionally, Strings and his band performed a second song, “Watch It Fall,” social distance-style from their homes. The song didn’t air live during the show, but is available on YouTube below.
The episode featured host Joel McHale, known best for his roles as host of The Soup and as Jeff Winger in NBC sitcom Community, in place of Jimmy Kimmel along with special guest Russell Wilson, Super Bowl winner Quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks.
Prior to the performance, McHale noted that Strings was raising awareness for the National Independent Venue Association, a group of nearly 2,000 independent venues across all 50 states whose mission is to preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent live music venues and promoters throughout the United States. Specifically, the group is currently banding together to ask Washington for targeted legislation to help them survive amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Independent music venues were the first to close and will be the last to re-open amid the shutdowns. With no revenue coming in for months, it’s estimated that 90% of these venues could close in the next handful of months.
You can watch Strings’ performance of “Taking Water” below.