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The Infamous Stringdusters hit the tarmac with Americana tradition, take off with 'Things That Fly'


Chris Parker April 15th, 2010

The Infamous Stringdusters9 p.m. SaturdayThe Blue Door2805 N. McKinleywww.bluedoorokc.com524-0738$15Buoyed by the escalating interest in Americana, Nashville's Infamous Stringdusters have emerged as o...

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The Infamous Stringdusters
9 p.m. Saturday
The Blue Door
2805 N. McKinley
www.bluedoorokc.com
524-0738
$15

Buoyed by the escalating interest in Americana, Nashville's Infamous Stringdusters have emerged as one of the finest exemplars of the newgrass movement's next wave.

They employ the drum-less, acoustic approach of bluegrass, while incorporating more progressive elements of other modern musical forms. The youthful sextet features a variety of lead vocalists, crisply blended harmonies and rich, supple arrangements utilizing Dobro, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, upright bass and guitar.

Its 2007 debut, "Fork in the Road," earned the act a slew of awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association.

"It really helped us out a lot to get that much recognition from our peers in the industry," said fiddler/vocalist Jeremy Garrett. "It showed that they were excited about what it is we were doing and gave us a lot of confidence."

They've barely taken a breath since, playing more than 150 dates a year and releasing their self-titled second album in 2008. The Stringdusters' third disc, "Things That Fly," comes out Tuesday.

Garrett's been playing music for as long as he can remember, thanks to his father, a bluegrass musician.

"He would hum melodies to me and I would try to replicate them on the fiddle until I trained my ear enough that I was able to sort of pick up or predict chords and improvise," he said.

After graduating from South Plains College in Texas, Garrett joined his father, mother and a childhood friend in forming The Grasshoppers, which toured nationally and scored a record deal. But after deciding to relocate from Idaho to Nashville, Tenn., the band fell apart, and Garrett set out on his own.

Soon, he was playing alongside Ronnie Bowman's bluegrass combo, where he got to know Stringduster companions Andy Hall and Jesse Cobb. A local banjoist, Chris Pandolfi, introduced them to guitarist Chris Eldridge (who's since been replaced by Andy Falco). However, it took some time to come together because of various commitments that were hard to surrender, particularly for Hall, who had an offer to play with Dolly Parton.

"Things That Fly" expands even more on the band's traditional touchstones. Falco plays a little organ, and the songs move beyond the typical bluegrass obsessions with love lost, found and gone wrong. Tracks like "Love One Another" deal with the issue of brotherhood, rather than relationships; Garrett's "Masquerade" explores the masks we wear; and the group even tackles a cover of U2's "In God's Country." It's a departure, but the Stringdusters feel it's still very representative of who they are and what they want to be.

"We don't necessarily feel like we belong to the bluegrass community in that way," Garrett said. "We feel like we're a band playing the best music we knew how to play, and it just so happens our foundations are in bluegrass." "Chris Parker
 
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