The Infamous Stringdusters will bring its own unique blend of bluegrass to The State Theatre on Nov. 4.
Guitarist Andy Falco has been to Happy Valley before, though he’s not sure about his bandmates.
“I’m not exactly sure if the Dusters have been there before. It reminds me a lot of where I went to school in Oneonta, N.Y. I love towns like that. There’s always an energy there that’s so infectious,” he said.
While typically referred to as a bluegrass group, The Infamous Stringdusters have a vast array of influences among the group’s five core members.
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“Our common denominator is bluegrass,” Falco said. “There’s a lot more to it as far as the influences that come out in the music. We have influences from bands like the Grateful Dead and Phish. Andy Hall (dobro player) was like a shred/electric/metal guy. I come from an electric blues background. Chris Pandolfi (banjo player) is involved in electronic music when he’s not doing the Dusters’ stuff. Travis (Book, bassist) is into more rock stuff, and Jeremy (Garrett, fiddler) grew up playing bluegrass music. There’s this mixture that happened and I think a lot of that comes out in our music. I think the presentation of the show is almost like a rock show, but it’s a string band. It’s bluegrass, but there are all these other influences that come out as well.”
The band’s most recent full length LP, “Let It Go,” has been met with critical acclaim. The Infamous Stringdusters took a different approach this time around.
“Well, for one thing it was the first album that was self-produced,” Falco said. “We didn’t have an extra voice in there as a producer. That was one thing that was really unique about that record. Also, we realized that every record is an evolution, but I think that one was a revelation of recording that it’s about capturing a performance live in the studio.”
The band’s natural evolution as songwriters have brought them to a place where they can fully articulate what they’re trying to say as musicians.
“We were left with tracks that didn’t need too much after, so it’s a pretty honest album,” Falco said. “We’re always evolving as songwriters and we all write and we’re all always getting better and more in tune with what we’re writing about. I think the message with this album was also very deliberate, even from the writing stage. We wanted something with a really positive message, and I think that’s what we were after with this one. I think this may have been the first time we even had subtle discussion about that while we were writing. It was an interesting approach for us; a different approach. I’m definitely really proud of that record.”
Falco offers his take on the modern music scene in a positive light. He believes that there is always good music to be made, no matter what the distribution or exposure.
“I think the good stuff is always there whether or not it’s the stuff that’s in the forefront of what people are hearing,” he said. “It’s such a different landscape these days as far as how people consume music. When I was a kid, you had ten dollars in your pocket, you’d go to Record World and you’d be able to get one album and maybe a 45. I was right at the very tail end of the vinyl years, when tapes were starting to take over ... I was a Beatles fan growing up, and I remember when Paul McCartney’s ‘Press to Play’ came out and I remember waiting for that release day. I couldn’t wait to get to the record store and get my copy. It’s just not like that anymore. Everything is out there for the taking and there’s plusses and minuses to that. Whether you call it progress or whatever you call it, there is something cool about how anybody can really check out your music.”
Falco believes that even if people download or acquire their music for free, the artists will still reap the benefits in the end.
“There’s no barriers anymore,” continued Falco. “I kind of feel like, although it’s always important to support musicians — because if you’re not buying their records, you should go buy a ticket or a T-shirt or something — but I think there is something good about it. I don’t think bands will lose fans, I think they only have stuff to gain from that.”
The band promises a unique affair at every one of their shows, offering something different during every performance.
“With our shows, every show is different,” Falco said. “Every set list is different. We have a lot of improvised jams in our songs, but we also make sure that every set is a unique show. We’re always looking for each show to have something that’s a little bit different ... Sometimes, we’ll do some songs for just one show, for whatever specific reason. It’s sort of like, ‘Hey, let’s do this one tonight!’ then we work it up and play it. Also, it’s good to get of your house! Get up, get your dancing shoes, come on out and have a great time!”