Andy Hall Releases New Album 'Squareneck Soul' ft. Travis Book, Sierra Hull & Wes Corbett

Article Contributed by Americana Vibes | Published on Friday, June 23, 2023

Today, Andy Hall of The Infamous Stringdusters has revealed his highly anticipated solo album Squareneck Soul. Available via Americana Vibes, his first full band venture since his 2008 critically acclaimed The Sound of Slide Guitar finds him in good company recruiting fellow titans of today’s bluegrass scene Travis Book (The Infamous Stringdusters) on bass, Sierra Hull on mandolin, and Wes Corbett (Sam Bush Band) on banjo. The record also features guest appearances from guitar sensation Billy Strings on “Muscle Car” and 3x GRAMMY-award-winning mandolinist Ronnie McCoury on “Skunk Weed."

To commemorate the release of the album, Hall has released a riveting solo performance video recorded at Etown Hall in Boulder, Colorado. Featuring just him and his dobro, Hall showcases a stunning display of fervor and expertise of the instrument in the emotive performance of the title track “Squareneck Soul” which can be viewed HERE.

Composed during a 3-4 week period leading up to the session, Hall set a goal to write 10 brand new compositions that can serve as devices for improvisation. He collaborated with Book, Hull, and Corbett not just because of their virtuosity, but because they are musicians he genuinely enjoys being around and who can improvise with roots that are well-versed in the traditions of bluegrass, but delves outside through their own intuition and curiosity. Through the release of the album and a common thread throughout all of his performing endeavors, Hall is rooted in an ethos to be an ambassador for the dobro, an instrument that often piques curiosity and is not found to be the lead instrument in many solo recordings.

Of the creative process and final outcome of Squareneck Soul, he says, "Squareneck Soul is truly a project from my heart and my soul—a slide guitar record 15 years in the making. In June of 2022, I got fired up and wrote every day until I had the tunes I thought would work well for this project. I crafted them as a template for improvisation and hoped to get some of my favorite players to join. I’m grateful that I was able to get some of the best to join me! Writing and playing dobro music is one of my absolute favorite things to do, and I hope folks enjoy listening to this as much as I enjoyed making it."

When naming the songs, Hall expresses that titling instrumental songs can be a challenge, but he enjoys the process. “Naming songs is an artistic process to come up with words that reflect the songs,” he says, “It’s challenging but fun, and you eventually land on the perfect fit.” This practice is aptly practiced in the Billy Strings feature, “Muscle Car,” where Hall heard the dark and driving nature of the composition lend itself to Billy’s own style and named the track after a vintage muscle car Billy drove to the studio. “Ancient Footsteps” is a perfect juxtaposition with its dreamy and melancholy nature. The easy listening “Seriously, It’s Going to Be Fine” is a feel-good song inspired by Book’s poised sentiments during a band email expressing verbatim that everything was going to be just fine. Hall leans into his Colorado home base in finding inspiration for “Crooked Mountain Top,” the most traditional bluegrass-feeling song on the album. He turned to Google Maps to find a lesser-known mountain in Colorado and landed on the perfect name that depicted the closing track on the album.

Hall and The Infamous Stringdusters continue the momentum of a vigorous touring schedule coming off of an appearance at the esteemed Telluride Bluegrass Festival last weekend and headed into key plays at High Sierra Music Festival, Earl Scruggs Music Festival, and more. Additionally, the band recently announced their own festival The "Infamous" Weekend featuring 4+ sets of music by the group taking place at Pop's Farm in Martinsville, VA.

A full list of dates can be found here:

6/23 - Owensboro, KY - ROMP Fest

6/24 - Caneadea, NY - Estival Festival

6/29 - Quincy, CA - High Sierra Music Festival

7/14 - Durham, NY - Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival

7/15 - Charleston, SC - The Refinery

7/21 - Redmond, OR - Fairwell Festival

8/4 - Bellvue, CO - The Mishawaka

8/5 - Dillon, CO - Dillon Amphitheater

8/6 - South Fork, CO - Rhythms on the Rio

8/10 - Ketchum, ID - River Run Lodge

8/11 - Alta, WY - Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival

8/12-13 - Livingston, MT - Pine Creek Lodge

9/1 - Mill Springs, NC - Earl Scruggs Music Festival

9/2 - Brunswick, ME - Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival

9/6 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheater

9/15-16 - Martinsville, VA - The “Infamous” Weekend

9/17 - East Aurora, NY - Borderland Music Festival

9/22 - Cape Girardeau, MO - Shipyard Music Festival

9/23 - Winona, MN - Boats and Bluegrass

10/6 - Pelham, TN - Cave Fest

10/8 - Monterey, CA - Rebels & Renegades Music Festival

11/5 - Redding, CA - Cascade Theater

12/6-10 - Puerto Morelos, Q.R. - Strings & Sol

Squareneck Soul is available to stream and order HERE.

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