Our scene doesn’t exactly lack for ace bluegrass and bluegrass-inspired combos, that’s for sure. But you have to tip your hat to the Infamous Stringdusters: a combo of pickers skilled enough to earn the admiration of serious bluegrass lovers, adventurous enough to stoke the interest of jaded jam-scene audiences long-skeptical of “next big things,” and buzzed-about enough to earn the professional admiration of fellow players and veteran scene staples.
Not bad for a band barely halfway into its first decade.
[Photo by Tom Daly]
Banjo player Chris Pandolfi, dobro player Andy Hall and former guitarist Chris Eldridge planted the seed for what would become the Stringdusters around 2005, after Pandolfi and Eldridge had met at Boston’s Berklee College of Music.
Both musicians followed Hall to Nashville, and from there joined up with mandolinist Jesse Cobb and fiddler Jeremy Garrett. The last piece of the first incarnation of the band was Travis Book on bass, and almost right away – especially with the release of their debut album, Fork in the Road — the band started getting appreciative nods and industry laurels, including an armful of International Bluegrass Music Association awards.
The Infamous Stringdusters @ Beachland Ballroom, May 30
Words: Zach Bloom
Photos: Michael Stein
The Bluegrass Revolution laid siege to Cleveland on Wednesday when The Infamous Stringdusters held their anti-formulaic, groove friendly pickin’ session at the Beachland Ballroom. “You know you’ve been here before when you see your own graffiti on the wall,” fiddle player Jeremy Garrett remarked to the enthusiastic crowd of Stringdusters fans and local grass-aholics who came out to see this… infamous band from Nashville who have been blowing up as of late.
[All Photos by Michael Stein]
The band played a fast-paced show that was laden with covers of great rock and bluegrass songs, each a pleasant complement to their repertoire of original arrangements that set them apart from other young bluegrass acts. Their humorous banter and interactions with the crowd yield a fun and engaging show, despite their failing to hold back the urge to yell the phrase “Hello, Cleveland” just to say they did, though they debated its cliche value openly.
There were many highlights during the show including two heart felt homages to the late great guitar player, Doc Watson who’d passed away just one day earlier. Guitarist Andy Falco remarked on the influence that Doc Watson had on his decision to buy an acoustic guitar and begin learning bluegrass shortly after attending a workshop where the legendary guitarist was featured.
Cloud 9 Adventures have just announced the latest addition to their roster of music destination events – Strings & Sol. S&S will bring Yonder Mountain String Band, the Infamous Stringdusters, Railroad Earth and Leftover Salmon to Tulum, Mexico between December 12 and 16 for three full shows a piece spread out amongst the festival’s four days.
The Dreams Tulum resort will host the inaugural Strings & Sol and packages are available with lodging at the hotel and without. Dreams Tulum is located 75 miles south of Cancun on the Mayan Riviera. Rooms and four-day passes go on sale May 23rd at noon EDT through the event’s website.