Opera House: Infamous String-dusters

Opera House: Infamous String-dusters

Infamous Stringdusters

Infamous Stringdusters

The Sheridan Arts Foundation presents two nights of high-octane bluegrass with the Infamous Stringdusters live in concert at the Sheridan Opera House, Thursday, February 20 and Friday, February 21, 2014. They’ll be joined by opening support, the Deadly Gentlemen. (The seats will be out and the show is for all ages.)

Dismiss labels. Forget trying to fit into a scene. Just relax and play your songs.

That about sums up the prevailing spirit of Let It Go, the fifth studio album from Grammy-nominated bluegrass expansionists The Infamous Stringdusters. The new effort, released April 1 on the band’s own High Country Recordings, finds the group on firm footing, at ease with an evolving sound that defies categorization. It’s acoustic music, sure, but not the kind you’ll hear from any other band. Roots can be traced, but boundaries don’t exist.

The new album is a touchstone for this tightly bonded musicians completely comfortable with each other and their collective identity. Perhaps the Big Idea about the Stringdusters is best summarized when five voices join in the mountaintop, gospel-hued title track of Let It Go: “If it’s worry you’ve been feeling over things you can’t control, it’s time to let it go.”

When The Infamous Stringdusters first emerged eight years ago, the band was immediately branded fast-picking, Nashville wunderkinds, a new-generation super group built to revive the high lonesome sound. Then came immediate accolades—IBMA awards, a chart-topping self-titled album for Sugar Hill Records and a Grammy nomination for “Best Country Instrumental” (for “Magic No. 9” from the 2010 album Things That Fly). Incendiary chops, undeniable instrumental virtuosity, and heartfelt harmonies, immediately positioned the band to be longstanding bluegrass torchbearers.

But for the five members of the Stringdusters— Andy Hall (Dobro), Andy Falco (guitar), Chris Pandolfi (banjo), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle) and Travis Book (upright bass)—reverence for traditionalism has always been only part of the equation. The group has always remained intent on fostering something bigger, more original. It’s this desire that has brought the quintet to its current place as multi-dimensional string explorers, mixing tight song craft from a variety of Americana styles and an improvisational spirit. In their always exhilarating, often-unpredictable live show, the open-minded approach has resonated and allowed the band to easily fit on a diverse set of stages—from Telluride and Grey Fox to Bonnaroo and High Sierra—along the way building crowds across the country that fill large rock clubs.

The past year was particularly transformative, as the band members realized there was no need to go through the formulaic motions in a shaky music industry. Bolstered by the support of a loyal and dedicated grassroots fan base, The Infamous Stringdusters are constantly looking for opportunities to create new experiences. Oftentimes it happens on stage, like the recent sit-ins from Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh or jazz guitar legend John Scofield. Other times it’s through accompanying adventures, like the band’s August 2013 trip on the Middle Fork of Idaho’s Salmon River.

Following the group’s 2013 summer American Rivers Tour, which doubled as an awareness campaign for water sustainability issues in partnership with prominent outdoor industry companies including Patagonia, Klean Kanteen and Osprey Packs, band members and select fans and friends embarked on a six-day float trip through an unspoiled wilderness area.

Now in February, The Infamous Stringdusters are once again traversing the winding highways of the Mountain West to visit some of the band’s favorite resort towns on its sixth annual Ski Tour.

The highly anticipated jaunt, highlighted by two-night stands in Jackson, Ft. Collins, Aspen and Telluride— continues the band’s partnership with Oskar Blues Brewery to support ongoing relief efforts from severe flooding that devastated parts of the Colorado Front Range last fall. On the Ski Tour, proceeds from each ticket sold will be donated to Oskar Blues CAN’d Aid Foundation, which directly raises funds for flood victims in Lyons and Longmont, CO. One dollar from every ticket sold along the tour will go directly to CAN’d Aid Foundation. The tour will also be supported by Osprey Packs, Madden Equipment, and Icelantic Skis.

Stringdusters_LetItGo_Square_300x280_FINAL_FIXColorado is a special place for The Stringdusters. Bassist Travis Book grew up in Palmer Lake, and the state is now home for banjo player Chris Pandolfi and dobro player Andy Hall, who resides in Lyons, where many parts of town were completely destroyed.

As part of the flood relief efforts The Stringdusters are also donating all proceeds from sales of their recently released EP Road to Boulder. The effort’s title track was written by Hall about his move to Colorado and features accordion from special guest Bruce Hornsby.

Tickets for the Stringdusters’ stop in Telluride are $25 general admission (plus a nominal ticketing fee) and available for sale online at SheridanOperaHouse.com or by calling 970-728-6363 ext. 5.

For a preview of the show, watch this video featuring tracks from “Let It Go.”

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