By Stevie Connor.
The Infamous Stringdusters have dug deep into their bluegrass roots for ‘A Tribute to Flatt & Scruggs’, which will be released on 21st April on their own Americana Vibes label. The thirteenth record by the US quintet who formed in 2006, it is a homage to the esteemed duo of singer/guitarist Lester Flatt and banjo player Earl Scruggs and acknowledges their key influence on American music.
“The concept of paying tribute to the godheads and originators of Bluegrass is one we bounced around for a while and, after Bill Monroe, the most logical are Flatt & Scruggs,” states ‘dusters bass player Travis Book. “They are legendary figures and without Earl's banjo, bluegrass just wouldn't exist the way we know it today.”
Having won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album in 2018, the group members - Andy Falco [guitar], Chris Pandolfi [banjo], Andy Hall [dobro], Jeremy Garrett [fiddle], Travis Book [double bass] - actually have musical influences that truly run the gamut. However, their common denominator is Bluegrass, which is the sound that has often defined the course of their career.
This new body of work is the second in a series of tribute releases and was an obvious choice to follow their 2021 Grammy nominated ‘A Tribute to Bill Monroe’, the man who laid the foundations for Bluegrass as we know it today. In honouring their roots, the group actually found an opportunity to grow and evolve, as evidenced by ‘Toward The Fray’, their well received full-length collection of original songs recorded during lockdown and issued in early 2022, while this new covers set displays an even deeper appreciation of the genre they closely identify with.
“This album is special to me because it presented the opportunity to dig deeper into what made Flatt & Scruggs so influential and because we recorded it pretty old-school; all at once, all together, without a lot of messing around. We just let the tape roll!” adds Book.
Throughout years of touring, the ‘dusters have been variously described as a ‘future supergroup’, ‘intricately improvisational’, ‘phenomenal’ and ‘flawless’ by critics. A rare example of a group who can team up with other contemporary acts on late night TV one night while headlining the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado or performing alongside Phil Lesh of Grateful Dead the next, they have accumulated a faithful international audience that continues to grow. With this latest honouring of the music that has helped shaped them, ‘A Tribute To Flatt & Scruggs’ informs fans that their evolution continues with renditions of songs that have been made even more meaningful and essential.