Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Jan 31st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Letting Go

mus infamousThe Infamous Stringdusters continue to stretch the limits of bluegrass with their latest release

With the April release of their fifth studio album, Let it Go, the Infamous Stringdusters really did let something go. And not just the traditional boundaries of bluegrass, which the Grammy-nominated quintet has been pushing (but never breaking) since the dawn of their career.

“When you’re working on art, conceiving it, creating it, there are only so many mantras that can be in your head at one time,” says banjo player Chris Pandolfi. “I think in lieu of a good mantra in the studio you’re just thinking to yourself, ‘I want to get this right. I don’t want to get this wrong.’ With this album, we knew we had to get way beyond that kind of thinking.”

So when the Stringdusters went to work on their latest album, it was their impeccable focus on each and every song that gave way to a freeing epiphany: it was more important for them to try to create a feeling than worry about making sure their live performances were technically proficient. As a result, the songs on Go do more than simply give you reason to play air guitar or tap your toes in time with the music. They go deep, musically and lyrically, and they make you feel something—nostalgia for days gone by, a buoyant anticipation for those yet to come, and an introspective vibe that is more prominent on this album than in their earlier work. And that, according to Pandolfi, was their aim.

“We wanted to go into the zone where we were thinking, ‘I want to convey something here in my performance that transcends the more surface-level ideas of right and wrong,’” he says. “We wanted to make sure we played like we really meant it.”

Go features a number of crisp performances from the band. The bluegrass number “Winds of Change” is one of the album’s liveliest, and “Summercamp” is a glorious folk/Americana hybrid recalling young love. “Colorado”—a funky piece of acoustic country—is arguably the album’s most unique entry, in which the Stringdusters sing about the urge to loosen up their tie and breathe. And on this album, loosening up went beyond throwing their worries about the live setting to the wind.

“[Initially] we thought we’d use more production to make something that wasn’t fully recreateable on stage, to embrace the concept that in the studio you do something different than you do on stage. That way, you aren’t constantly worrying, ‘If I record something I’m not able to play, why am I recording it?’” says Pandolfi. “We’ve gotten over that, and [this time] we were thinking ‘Let’s get really creative.’”
Along with their unpredictable, knock-out performances, the Stringdusters’ loyalty to their creative impulses has helped them amass a solid following over the years. And these fans don’t simply love the band’s music—they have also grown to love each other, becoming a community unto themselves. And they’ve given the band more than they could have hoped for in return.

“We just played a gig and a guy said to me afterwards, ‘I started playing banjo because of you,’” says Pandolfi. “I told him, ‘Man, you don’t even know. That’s the biggest compliment you could ever give.’ That’s the payback that nobody tells you about when you’re getting into music. You don’t anticipate those things, but when you start getting that feedback, you realize that there is more to what you’re doing than the sometimes selfish-feeling pursuit of practicing and playing all day.”


The Infamous Stringdusters will perform at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 16, Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Tickets are $15/advance, $20/door. For more information, call 479-1854.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Throwing It All Away

Everybody’s for recycling, right? So why are we all doing it wrong? Our reporter gets down and dirty to uncover 10 secrets that will finally make the recycling process make sense

 

Aquarius Calling, Humanity Rising

Aquarius (11th sign after Aries) is the sign of service—serving one another, building community. Aquarius is fixed air, stabilizing new ideas in the world. When new ideas reach the masses the ideas become ideals within the hearts and minds of humanity. Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are mental. They think, ponder, study, research, gather and distribute information. For air signs, education and learning, communicating, writing, being social, tending to money, participating in groups and creating sustainable communities are most important. One of the present messages Aquarius is putting forth to the New Group of World Servers is the creation of the New Education (thus thinking) for humanity—one based not on commodities (banking/corporate values) but on virtues. Humanity and Aquarius Aquarius is the sign of humanity itself. We are now at the beginnings of the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Humanity (rising). The “rising” is the Aquarian vision of equality, unity, the distribution and sharing of all resources and of individual (Leo) creative gifts for the purpose of humanity’s (Aquarius) uplifting. This is the message in the Solar Festival of Aquarius (at the full moon) on Tuesday, Feb. 3. We join in these visions by reciting the World Prayer of Direction, the Great Invocation.Tuesday’s solar festival follows Monday’s Groundhog Day, or Imbolc (ancient Celtic fire festival) the halfway mark between winter solstice and spring Equinox). The New Group of World Servers (NGWS) during these two days are preparing for the upcoming Three Spring Solar Festivals: 1. Aries Resurrection/Easter Festival (April); 2. Taurus Buddha/Wesak Festival (May); and 3. Gemini’s Festival of Humanity (June). Aquarius and the new and full moons together are the primary astrological influences behind all of humanity’s endeavors. The NGWS are to teach these things, calling and uplifting humanity. Join us everyone. (301)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Job Insecurity

Woman fights for her job in thoughtful, life-sized ‘Two Days One Night’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Jeffrey’s Restaurant

Why quick and friendly service matters at a local diner.

 

If you didn't live in Santa Cruz, where would you be living?

I would live in Kauai because the water is warmer, and I just love it there. Maureen Niehaus, Santa Cruz, Dental Assistant

 

Clos LaChance Wines

Pinot Noir 2012

 

Striking Gold

A taste of Soquel Vineyards’ five gold medal-winning Pinots