Jan 12, 2013 at 8:00 PM
VIP ticket includes admission to view the show from the balcony while enjoying delicious food and drinks. Your ticket is for both the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation Pre Party event at 7pm and the show at 9pm.
The Infamous Stringdusters are doing something right: earning critical acclaim, awards, and nominations aplenty; hosting their own successful music festival; forging their own record label, High Country Recordings; and quickly growing and enthusiastic fan base across the country. They sound like no one else, combining virtuosic chops on five traditional bluegrass instruments, with an ethos of pushing the genre forward. The Stringdusters' live show takes improvised string band music to new places, combining musicianship and songwriting with experimental performance and contagious energy flowing between the band and crowd.
The Honeycutters are, at the heart, the musical collaboration of singer/songwriter Amanda Anne Platt and Lead Guitarist/ Producer Peter James. While their sound has drawn comparisons to such artists as Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris or Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Platt and James produce a refreshingly unique blend of Americana music that is comfortingly familiar while being entirely original. Whether performing as an acoustic duo or a full fledged Honky-Tonk five piece, The Honeycutters leave smiles on the faces of the ears that they catch.
Their first full length studio release “Irene” (May ’09) was recorded at Asheville’s own Collapseable Studio, and mixed by Grammy Award winning sound engineer David Fergason (Nashville TN) . The album has garnered radio support across the USA as well as overseas, and landed them in Iaan Hughes’ (No Depression Podcast) top twenty of 2009, Fret Knot Radio Hour’s “Nine to Know from ’09?, and as number 32 in WNCW’s listener voted top 100.
Amanda Anne Platt has been hailed as “one of the best songwriters coming out of WNC these days” by WNCW programming director Martin Anderson, and her voice has been described as “perfectly unadorned” and “recklessly beautiful”. Her song, “Little Bird,” won second place in the general category of the Chris Austin Songwriting contest in 2011. Her lyrics are as catchy and heartbreaking as her melodies. Dane Smith of Asheville NC’s Mountain Xpress writes “Her songs make you sad…in a good way!” In both her simple composition and honest delivery it’s easy to hear the influence of country legends such as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, or Loretta Lynn, and with this Miss Platt credits growing up listening to her Father’s extensive record collection every Saturday morning. Despite her love for classic country, she cites Bruce Springstein and Tom Petty as major influences and her songwriting carries a wit and an edge that plants her firmly in her generation.
Peter James is rapidly becoming one of Western North Carolina’s most sought after guitar players, known for both insightful solos and tasteful accompaniment. Having first held a guitar at age thirteen, he quickly started making up for lost time by delving completely into the instrument. His natural talent and attention to detail made him an asset to The Slant Six Cowboys, a New Hampshire based group founded by James and singer/songwriter Don Witcher out of their long time musical collaboration. In 2004 they released a self-titled album on 95 North records which reached number 14 on the AMA chart. Since moving to Asheville in 2006 James has played right-hand man to several of the region’s top acts, including Taylor Martin and Brian McGee.
Like so many of country music’s great duos, Platt and James have a musical chemistry that can be felt throughout the songs they play, from the sounds of their guitars to their vocal harmonies. Perhaps this is why they are frequently mentioned along with the movement to “Take country music back to it’s roots”. The Honeycutters are just doing what they know how to do: making music that feels as good to hear as it does to play. Their original brand of Americana has proven equally appealing to both the musician and the music lover, the country and the city, and the old and the young.
Tal Taylor on mandolin, Ian Harrod on bass, and Jon Ashley on drums round out Platt’s songs and create a sound that carries just as well across the bar room as the acoustic duo does in a church or a music hall.
Since releasing “Irene,” The Honeycutters have shared the stage with such Americana giants as Tony Rice, The Seldom Scene, Donna The Buffalo, and The Steep Canyon Rangers. They have been voted Western North Carolina’s favorite local Americana act (2011 Mountain Xpress reader’s poll) and delighted audiences from upstate New York to Seattle, Washington. They are currently planning the release of their sophomore effort, “When Bitter Met Sweet,” for May of 2012. more >>>
Stand for those things in which you truly, passionately believe to the depth of your core: the integrity of your work, the way you choose to do business, the people with whom you surround yourself. How and where you live your life.
A bit of a young person’s boast, that.
Harder to live up to when the compromises of career and adulthood come
calling. Which makes The Infamous Stringdusters’ insistence on living out those hard choices — and taking control of their own business — all the more remarkable.
As is the constant, relentless, revelatory evolution of their music.
Pick-ups, in-ear monitors, lighting effects. Start there, for this is an acoustic band, right? Their live show isn’t a concert, it’s a performance, their music flirting constantly with risk and reward, the grip of the moment taking them way beyond the barriers of bluegrass, way out of that safe harbor where they began and into the deep waters of inspiration and innovation.
And they’re only beginning to grapple with the possibilities of all this freedom.
High Country, The Stringdusters have taken to calling that music, and it fits. “The High Country,” says banjo virtuoso Chris Pandolfi, winding his more complicated, carefully reasoned thought to a close, “is a beautiful, inspiring spot, wherever it may be.” Yes, exactly. High Country is also the name of the record label created by The Infamous Stringdusters, and the centering spirit behind everything
Seven years ago the band’s first incarnation came together in one of the doorway jam sessions, which are the hallmark of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual convention. Their debut, Fork In The Road, tied with J.D. Crowe’s release for IBMA Album of The Year. Now, banjo player J.D. Crowe is a bluegrass legend, and in the insular
world of bluegrass legends don’t tie with newcomers. The Stringdusters also won awards for Song of the Year and IBMA’s Emerging Artist of the Year. Those are heavy honors if you play bluegrass. Heavy honors. Their third album, Things That Fly, produced a Grammy nomination for Best Country Instrumental.
Stand together, for these Stringdusters are gifted musicians, knit together: Travis Book (bass), Andy Falco (guitar), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle), Andy Hall (dobro), and Chris Pandolfi (banjo). Separately they can play, and play with anybody; together they have seasoned into a formidable, groundbreaking live act. Which is hard to do in these sated times.
“I think the beauty of what’s going on here is that the hard part is over,” Pandolfi says. “I think we all have the universal feeling that
we will never find a playing situation that will be anything like this, even close to as satisfactory. And the beautiful thing is that when we came together it was a musical attraction. We’re five very different guys in the band, but there’s just such camaraderie, and that, above all else, is the thing that makes the music.”
They’ve been working up to this attack for a couple years now, but the key seems to have been recording their newest album, Silver Sky, with Billy Hume at the controls.
Re-released in Fall 2012 in a very special Silver Sky - Deluxe Edition (October 16, 2012 on High Country Recordings / SCI Fidelity Records), Silver Sky - Deluxe Edition includes a previously unreleased bonus track, “He’s Gone,” and the bonus live album, We’ll Do It Live.
True enough Hume started out on mandolin, but he’s best known for working with hip hop acts like Ludacris, and Nas. “He brings this new vision of how the music can sound,” Pandolfi explains. “And that informs the way that we perform in the studio, it informs the way the music comes together.”
“He’d never miked a dobro before,” Andy Hall says, “and we wanted that.”
Wait. That doesn’t mean they’re crafting arcane, challenging music, fit only for critics and pickers who can keep up with them. Not at all. They’re writing songs about the life they have embraced, simple as that.
“The type of people who listen to the music that we play, and are coming to the shows, are also people who go on epic hikes, or ski, or ride mountain bikes, or get out and experience life from all angles,” says fiddler Jeremy Garrett. “The new song on our latest record called ‘Night On The River’ has been going out to a lot of people. Rafters come up after the show to talk about it. My sister, she
loves to go catfishing, sits on the banks of the river, singing that song every time she drives out to fish. The music sort of sets up the background for your life.
Stand at the crossroads with The Infamous Stringdusters, for they are not a bluegrass band. Well, of course they are. In part; they play bluegrass instruments, and can certainly hold a bluegrass audience. But The Stringdusters are heirs to the transgressive tradition of bluegrass which links them to the Earl Scruggs Revue, New Grass Revival, Hot Rise, Nickel Creek, and Leftover Salmon. They are also heirs to the broader cultural tradition of rock ‘n ‘roll. Which means, depending upon which band member you speak with, nods to Black Sabbath and the Grateful Dead, The Band and U2.
The point here is that in a wireless world nobody comes to music, even music as conservative as bluegrass, in isolation. Especially The Stringdusters, who came to bluegrass late and almost by accident. Andy Hall started at the Berklee School of Music as another shredding guitarist from upstate New York. A hand injury led him to the dobro, and the dobro led him to bluegrass. In fact, only fiddler Jeremy Garrett has a formal bluegrass pedigree, and it’s from Idaho, not Appalachia. “I remember listening to Flatt & Scruggs, because my dad was a bluegrass musician,” Garrett says. “But at the same time I was listening to Guns N’ Roses and U2. And those are, for me, equally important influences.”
And those influences have begun to seep into The Stringdusters’ music: a phrase here, a cover there, a quotation or a sound or just the cheek to try all of those things at once.
Stand for something. The Infamous Stringdusters stand for the notion that, important though their music is, it’s only part of a full life. And so most of them have decamped from Nashville, where the best bluegrass players can be gobbled down the maw of session work and songwriting appointments, and settled in Charlottesville, Virginia, the musical oasis pioneered by the Dave Matthews Band.
There, the band has found a home. “We never had a hometown crowd in Nashville,” Pandolfi says. “That’s a tough town to have a hometown crowd in. Charlottesville, from the minute we got there, it seemed much
more like home. That’s an important thing, for a band to have a hometown crowd and to have a place that you can rely on.”
They have returned the love, hosting The Festy Experience, a weekend festival (the third is scheduled for October 5-7, 2012) in Nelson County, VA. “We try to create that intersection between lifestyle and music,” Pandolfi says. “You get a 5k run, you’ve got a mountain bike
race, you’ve got a rock climbing wall, lots of yoga, hikes. Lots of sustainable food operations and craft beer vendors. And just a general sort of over-riding acknowledgement that these things are important and
they make for a great quality experience over the longterm. It’s about more than just trying to usher as many people in as possible.” Between sets and soundchecks band members will participate in some of those events, and, if Pandolfi gets his wish, he’ll have a chance to do some fly fishing in the bargain.
Even Garrett’s father is beginning to understand. “I invited him to The Festy last year, and he hung out all week, helped me with the gospel set on Sunday, and just had a blast. That’s kind of the epitome of us, that’s the culmination of all our efforts, at The Festy. He was able to see our crowd react to us, and how many people were there, so I think he got over some concerns that he might have had about the actual music. But I think he’d still prefer to hear Flatt & Scruggs.”
Stand, and wear comfortable shoes (or no shoes at all). Because nobody sits at a Stringdusters show. more >>>