Travis Book, who plays upright bass for The Infamous Stringdusters, said that the band’s latest album Let It Go (2014) is the “most essentially Stringdusters” record they’ve ever made. The record was self-produced by the five-piece band, which may be one reason it’s the most honest expression of the group’s creativity.
“It was like every other record [we’ve made], except there wasn’t an extra guy in the studio with us…we got the chance to create and arrange, which is what we do best, and create an honest dialogue,” Book told the News-Press.
“We’d probably like to do it again, with the five of us there’s already a lot of cooks in the kitchen.”
They’ve been on and off the road with their live show, a combination of tracks from Let It Go, improvisational detours and covers they decide to play during rehearsals, since releasing their latest album last April.
The group starts a small run of shows on the East Coast tomorrow night in Snowshoe, Va. They are coming here next Friday and Saturday, Jan. 16 and 17, when they play at The State Theatre. Book said that he’s “psyched” to get back on tour with the rest of the Stringdusters.
“Playing music with my four bandmates is one of the greatest opportunities…it’s always interesting to see what’s going to happen with the music when you take a little time off,” Book said.
The Stringdusters were off for a few weeks for the holidays – they played their last few shows in the beginning of December. They were in Denver and Fort Collins, Co. on Dec. 4 and 5, respectively, before going to Puerto Morelos, Mexico for the Strings & Sol music festival.
“The last shows were awesome…the big highlight was going to Mexico,” Book said. Book said that after they start up this latest run of shows this weekend, the Stringdusters are scheduled to get together in Charlottesvile, Va. for four days to work on three “top secret” projects they’ve hammering out simultaneously.
“It’s a perpetual process. Sometimes we’re working on stuff for a live show, sometimes we’re working on a recorded project and sometimes we get together and work on music just because that’s what we do,” Book said.
Everyone in the group writes material that could end up on an album or in a live show and they get together 6 – 8 times a year to work on stuff. According to Book, the group whittled “35 – 37 tunes” down to the 11 tracks that are on their latest album.
“A big part of the journey of the Stringdusters is this constant distillation of our creativity,” Book said.
The band, which was formed in 2006 by banjo player Chris Pandolfi, dobro player Andy Hall and former guitarist Chris Eldridge in Boston, is categorized as a progressive folk band, but their sound is so much more expansive than that.
On their latest record, for example, there are clear gospel, country and blues influences. For their last album, 2012’s Silver Sky, they worked with producer Billy Hume, who is most well-known for working with hip-hop artists like David Banner, Nas and Ludacris.
“To sum up what the Stringdusters do is kind of impossible,” Book said.
• For more information about The Infamous Stringdusters, visit infamousstringdusters.com.