90 Second Spin: The Infamous Stringdusters

Feb 1, 2017

Credit Infamous Stringdusters

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CRAIG HAVIGHURST)  --  In the ten years since their recording debut, the Infamous Stringdusters have burnished two distinct but complimentary reputations.

While no longer Nashville based, they are recognized as musicians who play with the highest Music City virtuosity. And two, they've transcended the limits of the bluegrass business, reaching rock festival and jam band audiences across the country.

The quintet plays acoustic instruments with an effervescent touch and seductive grooves. It's bluegrass for dancing. And that combination of a traditional soul with hip accoutrements has never been captured better than on Laws of Gravity, the band's seventh studio album.

"Black Elk" is an epic tune that will sound enormous in the canyons of Telluride and Rockygrass. It combines great storytelling with a musical complexity that allows the instrumentalists to converse and proclaim like a jazz band.

Singing on that track is dobro player Andy Hall, but the band actually hosts four lead vocalists. Guitarist Andy Falco fronts two songs on Laws of Gravity. Bass player Travis Book is the blue eyed romantic of the group. Fiddler Jeremy Garrett generally handles the hard core bluegrass, as on the keening "A Hard Life Makes A Good Song."

And those voices may work best as the sum of their parts, as on the harmonious chorus of "Vertigo."

The album cover art, a dramatically photographed, hand-made diorama of a boat plunging over a waterfall, is part of the analog entertainment here as well.

Laws of Gravity may be the title of the new album but it's not clear that anything is holding the Stringdusters down these days.