The Infamous Stringdusters are Andy Hall (dobro), Andy Falco (guitar), Chris Pandolfi (banjo), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle) and Travis Book (bass). This extremely talented group of players and singers have been very busy touring major festivals releasing new music and making lots of people very happy in the process. The new music mentioned is the band's newest single 'Black Muddy River' originally written by Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia and recorded and released on the Grateful Dead’s twelfth studio album In The Dark. The band enlisted Anders Osborne to lend his musical mind and talent to this release. The track is the ultimate nod to Jerry Garcia who was one of the greatest pickers on the planet. The band also dropped this recording between August 1st and August 9th. These days symbolize the day Garcia was born and the day he passed, notably referred to as The Days Between. The Dusters collaboration with Osborne brings new life to the serene honesty of the song with brilliant instrumentation of many different stringed instruments and hauntingly beautiful vocals.
The band didn’t stop there, they have also teamed up with Teton Gravity Research and are releasing a limited edition of The Bluegrass Bears line, inspired by Owsley’s famous dancing bears. This Grateful Dead licensed design is now available for pre-order here. (shop.tetongravity.com/collections/pre-sale-tgr-x-grateful-dead-bluegrass-bears?fbclid=IwAR0ABi-4tr0qkv_NGph6qchz3neUhFpsStdtuctCWr2TELw7t4VSzsURrMU)
The Dusters have been busy playing major festivals across the country including the recent North West String Summit in Oregon and the up-coming GrassFire Festival on August 19th thru the 22nd in Ohio. They are sharing that bill with Trampled By Turtles, Leftover Salmon, Del McCoury Band, Yonder Mountain String Band and many more. The Dusters are a great asset to any festival, they take the exploratory and adventurous live shows they are known for to new and exciting heights every time they take the stage and the festival vibe just elevates their energy to drive the audience and the music to uncharted waters that can only be created on stage.
They consistently produce relevant vibrant music that touches each and every fan in a personal way. They take the art of traditional arrangements and spin it with creative ideas and divine musical interpretation. They are masters of all things stringed and are constantly reaching new and dizzying heights as a band. They thrive on on their live shows and they record music with a live audience in mind. They design and build songs that fit in many different live audience settings and venues.
The band's latest offering “Toward The Fray” is a fine example of writing in the moment for the moment. The pandemic born album is seriously introspective and primarily written by the band members individually because of the lockdown situation we were all found in. The album asks a lot of questions and gives a lot of answers from a personal perspective about events high and low each member of the band were experiencing at the time. This was also the bands first album with drums. The recording digs deep into the personal growth of each band member.
I can’t get into all of the accolades this band has achieved over the years, there are simply too many to mention here. But if I could embellish on just one of their incredible achievements it would be the bands Grammy Award winning album Laws of Gravity that won Best Bluegrass Album in 2018. I also think the bands largest and most pronounced accomplishment is the live connection between them and their audience and the never ending experimentation of relatable and relevant situations we are all experiencing together on the planet through music.
The Infamous Stringdusters walked onto the Mishawaka stage last night with huge smiles. They were so happy to be back at the iconic venue and the fans gave them a warm hearty welcome. The excitement before a single note was played was electric and enthusiastic. The colorful happy crowd were excited as the band opened the show with Night Rio. The stage was beautifully lit by lighting director Jason Gutworth and the band brought in some extra gear to enhance the visual experience. The Dusters have a solid crew of professionals working with them each night.
Well Well was the second song of the set followed by Starry Night and Salt Creek Disco. By this point the band was in another dimension of progressive jamgrass. The music swirled from the stage. Falco’s guitar playing was mesmerizing, his style and feel for his instrument is like nothing I have ever seen. Every note has emotion, with clear and distinct presence, and his expressive delivery draws you into the core of the bands sound. Jeremy Garrett on fiddle is another tour de force of musicality. He chooses his notes so quickly and presents them with incredible accuracy and emotion. His energy was infectious, fun and you can’t take your eyes off him.
The bottom end of the Dusters belongs to Travis Book. His bass playing and overall tone gives the band solid footing to explore many different and diverse arrangements. He is ever present and never leaves a gap unfilled. The sound of his upright bass filled the canyon with deep low end that could be heard for miles. Andy Hall’s solo’s on the dobro and vocal prowess are always fun and exciting to see and hear. He is such a clean player and offers lots of energy and excitement as he assaults your senses to dizzying heights. The band is full of soloists and it’s fun to watch them encourage each other when each member of the band takes center stage. Chris Pandolfi on banjo takes the whole situation to stratosphere levels with his outstanding improvisational skills. His tone and presence are another key asset to the sound, excitement and energy of the band.
Black Muddy River was the fifth song of the set and Andy Falco did an amazing job delivering the poetic honesty of the lyrical masterpiece, originally written by Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia. The band did a beautiful job delivering this classic piece of musical history. Many of the guests knew the lyrics and sang along as it brings back fond memories of Jerry and the Grateful Dead. Pearl, If Yer Gonna Love and I RunTo You closed out the first set. The Dusters have a lot of heart, ambition and soulful goodness to share and it’s always exciting to see what they are going to do next. I was not present for the second set, it was filled with incredible music including Colorado Jam, Don’t Think Twice, Planets, Hard Line, Get It, Tragic2, Home, Destination, PBD, Maxwell, Jackstraw, Fork, Travelin, Toy Heart, Dreadful Snake and Sweet Blue Eyed Darling.