Infamous Stringdusters perform at State Bridge
Ryan Summerlin July 13, 2012
BOND – A collective of five musicians who each left prominent slots in various touring bands, the Stringdusters, are essentially a supergroup. The band’s members hold tenures alongside luminaries like Dolly Parton, Earl Scruggs, Levon Helm and the Emmitt-Nershi Band, to name a few. But the individuals felt a kindred spirit and formed simply to play Stringduster music. They combine virtuosic chops on traditional bluegrass instruments with an ethos on pushing the genre forward. Having toured the country with their collective pasts, playing bluegrass festivals, folk clubs and acoustic listening rooms, the band is extremely well versed in the history of the music. They do not seek to shun bluegrass, but expand on the possibilities set forth by Flatt & Scruggs, John Hartford and Bill Monroe. It’s a musical style they’ve dubbed “High Country.” “We play ‘High Country’ music,” said bass player Travis Book. “More than bluegrass, not quite country, always progressive and energetic, High Country is our genre, as much as it’s our mindset and the name of our new label.” The High Country mindset also comes in to play beyond the music, as the bandmembers take any chance they can to explore the mountains they traverse on their annual ski tour and cast lines into rivers surrounding their festival appearances. Spend any time with the Stringdusters and you’ll quickly see the collective pot boiling over with creativity. You have strong songwriters in each band member, plus guitarist Andy Falco, who can also be found shredding electric guitar in Joss Stone’s band, banjo player Chris Pandolfi, who was the first ever principle on the instrument at Berklee, and dobro extraordinaire Andy Hall, an IBMA award winner who is consistently named one of the top players on his instrument. Opening the show, Jon Stickley is an flat-picking guitarist from Asheville, N.C. The Jon Stickley Trio showcases original material, as well as interpretations of bluegrass and jazz music. The trio leans toward a relaxed approach were the members are free to explore the song in the moment. Also opening the show are local favorites Olora Brothers, substituting Rob Eaton Jr. and John Huge on the dobro in place of Andrew Portwood.