Incendiary American roots duo Billy Strings & Don Julin tap into the vein of the earliest bluegrass music on their new album Fiddle Tune X, back when bluegrass was a rough-and-tumble art form pouring out of the Appalachian mountains, made with great virtuosity and huge attitude. With just two instruments (guitar and mandolin) and two voices, this duo has been tearing up stages across America and generating huge buzz based on their intense live shows. Drenched in sweat, grimacing like a banshee, howling like a bluegrass berserker, and picking with such ferocity that he’s been known to break three strings in one song, 22-year-old guitarist and singer Billy Strings could have tumbled out of coal country in the old mountains, tattoos and all, but actually hails from Michigan, where he met mandolinist Don Julin. Older in years and experience, Strings’ musical partner Julin has carved out a lengthy career at the forefront of acoustic mandolin music, known for his wide versatility, powerful picking technique, and remarkable creativity on this humble instrument. On stage, the two egg each other on to more and more intense riffs and improvised breaks, pushing harder and harder on their own abilities to try to break through to new levels of musicianship. There’s a reason that they were called “the unholy child of Pantera and Tony Rice” by The Bluegrass Situation, and they show this intensity on their new album, Fiddle Tune X.