Camaraderie ‘makes the music’

Who are The Infamous Stringdusters? You might know it as the Grammy-nominated band made up of a slew of bluegrass buffs. The band is known for its ever-evolving live shows and strong connection to Colorado crowds. But what you might not know is the band members are also river lovers who support restoring waterways nationwide.

The band is on a 10-date tour called the 2013 American Rivers Tour, in partnership with the river conservation organization American Rivers. Over the course of two weeks, the band will visit six states, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming. The goal is to raise money and awareness for protecting rivers in the U.S. The tour kicked off Wednesday with a show at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market at the The Depot in Salt Lake City. Ticket proceeds were donated to American Rivers.

It’s fitting then that the band will play State Bridge Riverside Amphitheater on Friday and Saturday evening.

“State Bridge is one of my favorite spots,” said banjo player Chris Pandolfi, who formerly was a fly fishing guide. “With the fans that always make it out there, along with the river component, State Bridge is the best of both worlds.”

According to a press release, American Rivers has helped protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy, on-the-ground projects and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers. American Rivers recently named the Colorado River the No. 1 “Most Endangered River” in the nation, drawing attention to drought, over-allocation of water and climate change. The river is a key recreation resource and economic driver, pumping $26 billion into the U.S. recreation economy each year.

Immediately following the band’s tour, all five members will bag up their instruments in waterproof cases, grab their rods and head out on a six-day float down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River with Idaho River Adventures. Staff from American Rivers and a film crew from Fly Fishing Film Tour will join the band for a music adventure complete with campfire jams, fishing, hiking and educational discussions on why and how to help preserve our nation’s waterways. This fall the band expects to release news about the documentary.

‘Reach as many people as we can’

The Infamous Stringdusters came out of Nashville seven years ago. In that time, the group has put out three albums and are currently working on a fourth. The big focus, however, is building the band’s fan base. To that end, the band streams its set lists online for free, moments after walking off stage.

“We try not to keep certain songs just for albums,” said Pandolfi. “We try to be as open as we can, to reach as many people as we can.”

Comprised of Pandolfi, Andy Falco (guitar), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle), Travis Book (double bass) and Andy Hall (dobro), The Infamous Stringdusters share a bond that can be felt by the audience.

“Being in a band is a really special force, especially when you get along,” said Pandolfi. “We’re five very different guys in the band, but there’s just such camaraderie, and that, above all else, is the thing that makes the music.”

Touring consistently for the past three years, the band continues to cross barriers in the world of bluegrass. The band won “Song of the Year” and “Emerging Artist of the Year” at the 2007 International Bluegrass Association Awards.

“The type of people who listen to the music we play and come to the shows are also the people who go on epic hikes, or ski, or ride mountain bikes, or get out and experience life from all angles,” said Garrett.

It’s no wonder The Infamous Stringdusters have so much love for Colorado crowds. Fans who follow the band rarely miss a show. Eagle resident Alex Marin has seen the band three times this year.

“I’m a huge fan. I’ve seen them twice in Telluride, which was incredible,” said Marin. “But my favorite Dusters performance was at the WinterWonderGrass festival in Edwards at the Crazy Mountain Brewery; even though it was snowing, the vibes from their music warmed up like 1,500 people.”

“When you look back from the front and see people in the crowd crying, you know the band did their job,” Marin continued. “That’s why, to me, they’re the best bluegrass band in the scene today.”


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The VailDaily Updated Jul 31, 2013 08:53PM Published Jul 31, 2013 07:09PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.