Here we are already off to another year filled with great music and it looks like 2011 will be huge for The Infamous Stringdusters. They are nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Country Instrumental Performance” category with the song “Magic #9”off the album Things That Fly (up against some tough competition with Cherryholmes, Darrell Scott, Marty Stuart and the Punch Brothers). Having won the “Emerging Artist of the Year Award” in 2007 from the International Bluegrass Music Association, a Grammy would be a nice addition to an already growing resume.
Early into the West Coast leg of their “Ski Tour,” the Stringdusters stopped in Arcata for their first time playing at one of Humboldt County’s premier music venues, Humboldt Brews. You would have not known that it was a Tuesday night – the crowd was large and energetic as the Bucky Walters, a local bluegrass band got the crowd going with a set of originals and covers. After a short intermission the Stringdusters took the stage and began a 2 hour blazing set of intense bluegrass.
The first thing you notice about the Stringdusters is how well they feed off each other on stage. Early into the set banjo player Chris Pandolfi joined guitarist Andy Falco and Jesse Cobb on mandolin on the other side of stage on “Long and Lonesome Way,” watching each other and smiling the whole time. When the first notes rang out of from Jeremy Garrett’s fiddle and Andy Hall’s dobro on the instrumental “Chaco” you could feel the energy in the room intensify as the band jammed. The familiar lyrics of “Deep Elem Blues” sung by Hall, had the crowd singing along and was a chance for bass player Travis Book to feature the double bass, exchanging licks with Cobb. It was getting hot and steamy inside the venue as you could see a haze through the lights which led to a comment by Garrett about how they loved being in Humboldt. With the temperature rising there was no sign of letting up as the band blasted through “Midnight Moonlight” and the classic Jimmy Martin bluegrass tune “Hit Parade of Love.” Ending the set with “When Silence Is the Only Sound” > “Rain,” the crowd was begging for more. The band came back out and said, “we’re going to do this for you” and came out on the dance floor and ended the night with the crowd surrounding them and singing along to Danny Barnes’ “Get It While You Can” ending a fine night of bluegrass and showing why The Stringdusters are going to be a band to look out for in 2011.