Billy Strings and Don Julin

Billy Strings and Don JulinThe C-U Folk & Roots Festival presents the acoustic duo Billy Strings and Don Julin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 23, at the Rose Bowl Tavern (106 N. Race St., Urbana). $8 cover; this is a 21-and over show.

Billy Strings and Don Julin play traditional American string band music with energy levels usually associated with extreme sports. A typical set includes haunting Appalachian songs, righteous gospel standards, and blazing bluegrass instrumentals. Honoring the musical traditions of Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, and Jimmy Martin, their music is delivered with a pedal to the metal intensity of a moonshine runner. The duo’s first album, Rock of Ages, was released in 2013.

William Apostol—dubbed “Billy Strings” at an early age by his aunt—is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and song-writer based out of Traverse City Michigan. Born into a musical family, the 21-year-old got his first guitar at age four and has been amazing audiences with his skill and “old soul” singing ever since.

For over 30 years, Don Julin has built a reputation as being one of the most eclectic and versatile mandolin players around. His original mandolin compositions have been licensed by HBO, VH1, MTV, NBC, Showtime, Bravo, National Geographic Explorer, Fox Sports, and others. Julin is the author of the best-selling Mandolin For Dummies (Wiley & Sons 2012) and is an in- demand mandolin teacher giving mandolin workshops and master classes around the world.