Billy Failing

Billy Failing is a banjo player, guitarist, singer and songwriter based in Nashville, TN.  Originally from Portland, OR, Billy’s musical pursuits have taken him all over the country.  As a graduate of Berklee College of Music, he has worked in a diverse range of projects, from fronting his own band and touring as a sideman to playing in the pit for a musical theatre production, to working as a session musician in the studio for numerous recording projects. 

In 2014, Billy was a featured instrumentalist in “This Will All Be Yours,” a musical that premiered in the Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York City.  As a performer, he has appeared onstage with a variety of acts, including Portland bluegrass bands, the Rose City Ramblers and Jackstraw, and more recently with Nashville-based guitarist Billy Strings. 

Among his most recent recorded works, Billy helped to put out The Rose City Sessions, a full-length bluegrass album and collaborative effort with Portland-based bluegrass musicians Jack Dwyer, Sam Weiss, Gordon Keepers and Bobby Winstead.  The project features a selection of traditional and classic bluegrass and old time tunes.  

In addition to the recent release of The Rose City Sessions, Billy is currently working on his debut solo album, which will feature predominantly original songs recorded with fellow bluegrass and acoustic musicians in Nashville.

Billy’s distinctive sound blends tradition with innovation, and draws influence from all over the musical spectrum.  Brought up on the sounds of artists like The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Billy discovered bluegrass and the banjo through the music of Bela Fleck as a teenager.  While diving headlong into the world of bluegrass and American roots music, Billy also gained a deep appreciation of jazz and classical music that finds its way into his playing today.  His original music, while rooted in the bluegrass genre, incorporates elements of old-time, Americana and country music, and is colored by his musical upbringing.  

Currently, Billy is touring select dates in support of his most recent release, Calling My Trouble by Name, in addition to touring as the full-time banjo player for up-and-coming bluegrass guitarist Billy Strings, appearing at festivals and concerts all over the country.  Between tours, Billy teaches banjo and guitar in the Nashville area, 


Photographer: EJ Holmes