Billy Strings: "A lot of times I’ll walk right out and say, 'I’m not going to lie, folks. I’m nervous as f**k right now'"

Billy Strings performs during 2021 Railbird Festival at Keeneland Racecourse on August 28, 2021 in Lexington, Kentucky.
(Image credit: Erika Goldring/WireImage)

Starting with Mental Health Awareness month and continuing throughout the following months, Guitar World is hosting a series of interviews and features with artists addressing and raising awareness around themes of mental health, particularly as they relate to musicians.

When Billy Strings begins a show by telling the audience that he’s nervous, it’s not just stage banter or a case of preshow jitters. Strings is the picture of confidence and exuberance when he performs, but beneath the surface he’s often been stricken with anxiety and panic attacks. Because of that, he has made it his mission to speak up and speak often, in hopes of educating those who are lucky enough to not know what it’s like and offer support to those who do. 

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Alison Richter is a seasoned journalist who interviews musicians, producers, engineers, and other industry professionals, and covers mental health issues for Writing credits include a wide range of publications, including,, Bass Player, TNAG Connoisseur, Reverb, Music Industry News, Acoustic, Drummer,, Gearphoria, She Shreds, Guitar Girl, and Collectible Guitar.