The Infamous Stringdusters released there self-titled sophomore album on Sugar Hill this week. In a stroke of genius, they brought is Tim O’brien as producer. The Stringdusters like O’brien have a fairly uncommon ability to stand simultaneously in both the Traditional and New Grass camps with no apparent contradiction. Their previous release Fork in the Road was a very good album. However, the production was a bit too sterile. Not unlike jazz, Bluegrass is best when it has spontaneity, which was missing on Fork. What this sextet of virtuosity was missing on Fork is found on this new project. I have no doubt that O’brien is responsible for this.
The album starts out in a very inventive way, with three songs written by three different band members. Each of the songs is sung by their creator. “Won’t Be Coming Back” is sung and written by Bass player Travis Book. “Well, Well” is sung and written by Dobro player Andy Hall. “When Silence is the Only Sound” is sung and written by Fiddler Jeremy Garrett. Other songs of note are the phenomenal instrumental “Glass Elevator,” the more traditional “I Wonder” and the high octane “You Can’t Handle the Truth.” It seems that all the rave reviews bestowed on them has left them more comfortable and relaxed. They no longer need to prove they belong. They just need to relax and jam, which is exactly what they do.
This review also appears on Amber Waves of Twang
About the author: Chip and his family live in Birmingham, AL. Roll Tide!