Grammy-winning Infamous Stringdusters jam at Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg on April 9
From a press release:
After recently wrapping up over 20 dates across the country, including stops in Portland, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, and Denver, Grammy Award-winning jamgrass band The Infamous Stringdusters will begin the month of April with a concert at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg on Thursday, April 9.
New York Americana/folk outfit Upstate and Bethlehem bluegrass band Serene Green will open this all-ages show. Doors at the Sherman Theater (524 Main St., Stroudsburg) open at 7 p.m., and the concert starts at 8 p.m.
The Infamous Stringdusters rise to new heights on their ninth full-length record, “Rise Sun.” For the album, the Nashville, Tennessee quintet – Andy Falco (guitar), Chris Pandolfi (banjo), Andy Hall (dobro), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle), and Travis Book (double bass) – expanded their signature sound by perfecting their expressive patchwork of all-American bluegrass threaded together with strands of rock, jazz, funk, country, old-time, and more.
As they approached this latest body of work, the group’s ambition matched their outsized creative curiosity.
“‘Rise Sun’ was sparked by the feeling of wanting something better for the world – more love, more awareness, and more compassion,” Hall said. “It’s a message of taking care of each other, our planet, and ourselves. We all shared this feeling, as evidenced by the songs we brought to the project. It’s the feeling of a rising sun as opposed to a dark night. Sometimes a message of hope is less popular than one of despair, but it’s much-needed nevertheless.”
It’s also a message that 13 years, eight studio projects, and nearly 1,000 shows prepared the boys to properly present. The Infamous Stringdusters stand out as the rare group who can team up with contemporary artists on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” one night and headline the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre or perform alongside the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh the next. Engendering a sense of impassioned fandom, they band have attracted a faithful audience that continues to grow. Moreover, their powerful music and performances paved the way for a Grammy Award win in the category of Best Bluegrass Album for 2017’s “Laws of Gravity.”
When it came time to record what would become “Rise Sun,” they pushed themselves to evolve once more.
“‘Rise Sun’ is the latest chapter in the progression of our sound,” Pandolfi noted. “It’s been a long arc that includes evolution on all fronts – writing, arranging, performing and, maybe most importantly, growing as humans who have more to say as the journey rolls on. New albums are the time when we write and introduce our strongest original material. On our last release, ‘Laws of Gravity,’ we really started to hit our stride with recording live in the studio. ‘Rise Sun’ is another big step in that direction.”
For the first time, the band chose the song order before actually recording. Additionally, they maintained that order throughout the process, recording the songs in sequence, which resulted in a natural flow. This choice “gives it the feeling of a story as you listen down,” Hall said. It represented a moment of collective confidence.
“We self-produced the last album, so we felt validated in a sense that our instincts were sound,” Book added. “We came into this one with some confidence. Any doubts about our band or our mission had dissipated. What remained was a deep sense of purpose and love.”
“The Grammy put some high-octane gas in our tanks as well,” Garrett grinned. “We also wanted to rise to the challenge of making a follow-up project worthy of what we had done in the past.”
The Infamous Stringdusters introduce the album with the hand clap-driven gallop of the title track, “Rise Sun.” High-energy banjo powers an uplifting and undeniable refrain that immediately shines.
“It’s a hopeful anthem,” Book elaborated. “The sun is rising, and the light is overtaking the darkness. The idea for the melody, inspired by Southern gospel music, came to me driving out of the mountains into Georgia from my home in North Carolina. When we wrote it, I was feeling a deep sense of hope for humanity that the sun will rise again.”
Then, there’s the hummable instrumental “Cloud Valley,” which exudes a sci-fi spirit of wonder via sonic intricacy. “Science fiction can transport you to a place of deep imagination,” Pandolfi said. “We wanted to generate a soundscape for an imaginary mystical setting. It really came alive when we all got together.”
Everything culminates on a heartfelt send-off with “Truth and Love.” Its delicate musical backdrop transmits an important statement for The Infamous Stringdusters.
“I wrote that a few years ago and brought it back now because I feel like the message has become more relevant today,” Falco stated. “The world is polarized. Everything is so extreme, and partisan politics have become a culture war. The song is a reminder of what’s truly important in life – seek the truth, find your love, look up high, and aim above. Life is short, so keep your eye on what’s important while you’re here.”
In the end, that’s precisely what The Infamous Stringdusters do on “Rise Sun” as they boldly welcome yet another new day, new phase, and new chapter.
“We’re a brotherhood, but that family extends beyond the band even,” Falco left off. “Our music gives us an opportunity to bring some light in a world that can be dark sometimes.”