When the Infamous Stringdusters take the stage, they have a good time, and they want you to join in the fun.
The bluegrass act and opening band Old Time Travelers play Track 29 tomorrow night at 8 p.m.
What: Infamous Stringdusters and Old Time Travelers concert
When: Friday, March 8, 8 p.m.
Where: Track 29, located at 1400 Market St.
How much: $15 in advance, $18 at the door
“People should expect to have a good time. It’s that simple,” said guitarist Andy Falco. “It’s like our bassist, Travis [Book] says, ‘It’s your show. Do whatever.’”
The Infamous Stringdusters have a piece of what bluegrass torchbearers like Alison Krauss and Union Station keep alive: a vivid and accessible connection to a music rooted in Americana.
The five-piece band plays traditional instruments—including the upright bass, mandolin, fiddle, Dobro and banjo—and turn out such enchantingly charming melodies, harmonies and lyrical stories that the technical proficiency and authenticity of bluegrass as a tradition is almost easy to overlook, if only briefly.
Falco explained that the group formed seven years ago when friends—who had previously played as side musicians for other acts—found themselves fitting together nicely at one of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s jam sessions.
Since then, the band has earned IBMA nods for Song of the Year and Emerging Artist of the Year, as well as a Grammy nomination for Best Country Instrumental; launched a three-day music festival now in its fourth year; and established a record label, High Country Recordings.
And the boys picked up the "infamous" tag in their name along the way.
For the most recent release, “Silver Sky,” which was also the first album on their own label, the Infamous Stringdusters chose to work with a producer best-known for his work with hip-hop acts such as Nas and Ludacris.
Billy Hume first connected with the band to mix the live album “We’ll Do It Live.” Though there were some growing pains—the challenge of miking a Dobro for the first time—the collaboration fueled the studio album that is “Silver Sky.”
“He’s not bluegrass—he has a whole different background in rap and R&B,” Falco said. “Billy has an amazing creative energy as a producer and engineer. He brings in what we’ve been looking for for a long time to live performances’ energy capture[d] in the recording.”
The 12-track record is a continuation of the Infamous Stringdusters’ push to move the band’s sound forward, to grow from the momentum the five musicians have amassed over the past seven years.
As for tomorrow night’s show, audience members should be advised to bring their dancing shoes. The band cultivates an environment where fans can rock out, talk to friends, stay by the wall with a beer in hand—almost anything goes.
The fan- and band-centric atmosphere is aided in no small part by the music itself.
“It’s a really honest form of music,” Falco said. “There’s really nothing to hide behind. You can play bluegrass acoustically or on a big stage—the essence of it doesn’t change much.”