An Evening with the Infamous Stringdusters – Old Rock House 11/14/2012
Words / Pictures by Bradley Darby
Described by some critics as “a future supergroup,” “a phenomenon” “intricately improvisational,” and “flawless”, the Infamous Stringdusters have been tearing up the bluegrass circuit for the last five years, releasing four studio albums as well as a live album while garnering a Grammy nomination along with three International Bluegrass Association awards and playing to packed venues and festival tents. The Stringdusters were just in the home of Chingy during Labor Day weekend for what was scheduled to be the late night portion of Del Yeah! Bluegrass Festival, however the festival was rescheduled due to inclimate weather. The Stringdusters played anyways to a near sold out crowd. That night they announced they would be coming back through town for one of the final shows on their Fall tour in November… that night was November 14th.
The first set started at 9PM with “The Place That I Call Home” with vocals by fiddle player Jeremy Garrett. While the band continued to play in the background, stand up bassist Travis Book took the mic to welcome the crowd and ask “Who here has seen the Stringdusters, whos done this before? Who knows what’s up? Then you know you are here to do whatever you want… dance, sing, drink, talk, whatever it is. Its your Wednesday night and we’re just so glad to be here tonight. Two sets of music, we’re gonna be at this awhile, settle in.” Book stayed on the mic as they went directly into the Danny Barnes tune “Get It While You Can.” It was clear at this point that the Dusters had already settled in quite nicely as the third song was a stunning instrumental that was very heavy on the fiddle, thanks to Jeremy Garrett.
A brand new song that debuted in late October, “Road to Boulder,” was led by dobro player Andy Hall. Their version of “In God’s County”, a song you may remember from The Joshua Tree by U2 was next. The Stringdusters are no stranger to that one, it was recorded for 2010’s Things That Fly. Travis got back on the mic to address the crowd again as he showed his appreciation for the Old Rock House and mentioned that this was the final week of the tour. Props were also given for the light guy, Bret Angstep, who was doing an absolutely fantastic job to make the stage look incredible. “How Far I’d Fall For You” was introduced by Book as a “party love song.”
A Del McCoury classic, “Travelin’ Teardrop Blues” segued right into banjo picker Chris Pandolfi leading the group and slaying dragons with his banjo for another instrumental. Following a brief pause to allow the crowd time to gather their thoughts it was time to cater to the hippie demographic with a cover of “Free” by Phish. Andy Hall was back at the mic for a stellar version of “Well, Well” that clocked in at 10 minutes and included what I’m pretty sure was a tease of the theme song from Top Gun by guitarist Andy Falco. The first set closed out just before 10 P.M.
After about a 35 minute break the second set started off in the hands of Travis Book yet again for “It’ll Be Alright” and was followed by another Andy Hall tune, “Rain.” The energy in the room just ten minutes into the the second set was definitely being felt by the band as they expressed how much fun they were having. The next song, “17 Cents” was dedicated to “people who struggle to make ends meet at the end of every month, damn near everybody i know ” said Book. A cover of “Walking on the Moon” by The Police had a nice bluegrass-reggae feel to it. Another tasty diddy of an instrumental went right into “Aint No Way of Knowing” followed by “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” with Andy Falco playing the part of Dylan. “Deep Elem Blues” featured Travis Book laying down some nasty bass. He then told us about the new deluxe edition of Silver Sky, a re-release of their most recent album with bonus tracks and a live disc that is available only at independent record shops nationwide. You can’t order it on their website, really… I tried. They then played the first track from that album “Don’t Mean Nothin.” An excellent cover of The Grateful Dead’s “He Gone,” which is one of the bonus tracks featured on Silver Sky Deluxe Edition, was dedicated to Peter Dedario who was apparently responsible for the strings on Falco’s guitar. The set ended with what turned out to be a nearly 10 minute jammed out version of “Gettin’ Down The Road.”
After thanking the crowd they informed us they would be doing an encore and that they would normally walk away but theres no where to go. We were informed of The Show Hive, a section of the their website where sound engineer Dave Becker posts pictures and audio of every show. Even full, FREE recordings of most shows! The Dusters take on The Band’s “Up On Cripple Creek” started the encore, quite possibly a tribute to Levon Helm who passed away earlier this year. Their International Bluegrass Award winning song “Fork in the Road” closed the show out and as they thanked the crowd Book informed us that “you guys rocked!”
To say that I have grown quite fond of the Infamous Stringdusters over the past few years would be a fact. To say that after seeing them live for the first time last June (then again in August and October, then again three times this year) made me a fanatic would be an understatement. This band is incredibly talented and you need to do yourself a favor if you like bluegrass music the least bit and give them a chance… NOW.
The Place That I Call Home
Get It While You Can
Road to Boulder
In Gods Country
How Far I’d Fall For You
Travelin’ Teardrop Blues
Night on the River
It’ll Be Alright
Walking on the Moon
No Resolution (Instrumental)
Ain’t No Way of Knowing
Don’t Think Twice
Deep Elem Blues
Don’t Mean Nothin’
Gettin’ Down the Road
E: Up On Cripple Creek
E: Fork in the Road