June 19, 2022

I suppose it is a fact that if you listen to the same old music then you are potentially missing out on some truly amazing bands and albums out there. Many years ago, I worked with a guy who was into bluegrass and, especially, Zydeco of which I had never heard but he soon brought me round to this wonderfully exhilarating music. If it is new to you then Zydeco evolved in southwest Louisiana by French Creole speakers and is a pleasing extension of the blues and traditional rhythm and blues being rather similar to Creole but different enough to warrant its own name. Ever since then I have had a great respect for bluegrass and its derivatives.

Of course, there are thousands of very enjoyable bluegrass bands out there but one to take real note of is The Infamous Stringdusters with the latest album Towards The Fray being the bands twelfth album since they set out on the road in 2006. They are what are known as a progressive bluegrass jam band which, surely, has to stimulate your interest? Now, this is a Grammy award winning band and one thing that they can do is play and what a wondrous, toe-tapping, life affirming music they play too. They have pretty much kept the same team throughout with Andy Hall on Dobro, Andy Falco on guitar, Chris Pandolfi on banjo, Travis Book on bass, Jeremy Garrett on fiddle with Mark Levy supplying the drums on the tracks I Didn’t Know and I’m Not Alone. The thrilling combination of fiddle, banjo and Dobro is truly intoxicating and you cannot listen to this album without getting a huge grin on your face and an urge to pop out and buy a Stetson!

COVID has meant that each musician has to record and submit his own work for the album for it then to be compiled and this must have been a crazy time for the guys as this is a band that likes to play live and develop ideas and themes as they jam. Thankfully, this has not impacted on the album as it sounds perfectly fresh, pulsating, electric and, vitally, still has that real live music sound. It also seems that this is the first album they have produced to feature drums which is something I had not picked up on previously as it is always the stringed instruments that you concentrate on. I’m guessing that the vocals are supplied primarily by Jeremy Garrett but these are not mentioned so this may not be 100% correct. However, the delivery is typically upbeat bluegrass and truly compliments the toe-tapping music perfectly.

I suppose that if you see them live then you have to give the audience plenty of room to dance and jig along. Play this band at a party and it is guaranteed to make everything go with a swing. If you haven’t tried bluegrass before then The Infamous Stringdusters may just be the ideal band for you to pick up on this exuberant sound.

Towards The Fray

  1. Hard Line (3:41)
  2. I’m Not Alone (5:07)
  3. I Didn’t Know (4:01)
  4. Means To An End (5:07)
  5. Toward The Fray (2:42)
  6. Pearl Of Carolina (3:54)
  7. Down From The Mountain (4:37)
  8. Revolution (5:02)
  9. How Do You Know? (3:59)
  10. Spirits Wild (4:25)
  11. When Will I Ride Again (Tragic 2) (3:53)
  12. Til I’m Satisfied (4:19)
  13. Through The Floor (2:50)