The Infamous Stringdusters, "The Infamous Stringdusters" (Sugar Hill)
For this six-piece band of acoustic hotshots, the emphasis is on the second part of their name. This time out, they not only blow the dust off their strings; they also unite into a formidable sound all their own.
Their 2007 album, "Fork in the Road," drew attention for the remarkable playing of each band member: Bassist/singer Travis Book, mandolinist Jesse Cobb, new guitarist Andy Falco, fiddler/singer Jeremy Garrett, dobro player Andy Hall and banjoist Chris Pandolfi.
The collection earned them three top awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association for best album, song and emerging band a remarkable achievement for newcomers in a genre that expects youngsters to pay their dues.
But the second album banks on more than instrumental dexterity; it also celebrates how the Stringdusters have merged as a unit and emerged as songwriters and arrangers.
The instrumentals, especially Cobb's "Golden Ticket," dazzle as expected. But what moves them forward is how well the band mixes accessibility with complex arrangements and stunning solo work, as heard on the bluesy "Get It While You Can," the philosophical "When Silence Is the Only Sound" and the breakneck "Won't Be Coming Back."
Picking up where the recently disbanded Nickel Creek left off, the Stringdusters rise to the challenge of their reputation on this collection. They may soon have to deal with being well-known-rather than merely infamous.
On "Lovin' You," the band transforms songwriter Sarah Siskind's wondrous love song into something that's both dreamy and full of surprising turns. --MICHAEL McCALL, For The Associated Press
When The Infamous Stringdusters comes out June 10 on Sugar Hill Records, some may assume from the title that it s a debut recording. Those already aware of the Stringdusters phenomenon will know differently: that 2007 s Fork in the Road was the album that boldly introduced this daring, disciplined band to the world of bluegrass and a wider world of music enthusiasts who heard it and decided: if that s bluegrass, then I love bluegrass. Fork in the Road was named Album of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association. Its title track was named Song of the Year, and the band itself earned the honor of best emerging artist in a competitive field. It was a stunning cap to an amazing 2007.