Bluegrass improvisers Infamous Stringdusters perform in Jim Thorpe Nov. 17
JIM THORPE — Last time the Infamous Stringdusters picked their way through town, they came to co-headline Susquehanna Breakdown with local bluegrass boys Cabinet. This time, their swinging through to the south for their own one-night show.
The Stringdusters perform at 8 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Mauch Chunk Opera House, and according to fiddle player, Jeremy Garrett, they’re looking forward to it.
“That’s a good part of the country for us,” Garrett said. “We have some guys in the band from the Northeast, and I feel like that’s helped our momentum a lot in the area.”
Garrett thanked bands like the Seldom Scene and Railroad Earth for paving the way for bluegrass in the region but also noted the band has toured the corridor since it emerged in 2007.
Since hitting the live music scene, the jamgrass quintet released several acclaimed records the most recent of which, “Ladies & Gentlemen” featured guest female lead singers including Abigail Washburn, Niki Bluhm and Sara Watkins, over original Dusters compositions.
Garrett said the band loves the material and had a lot of fun making the album, although tunes from the recent release don’t frequently get played during live shows without a guest female singer.
“We had the great fortune of having many of those guests with us throughout the whole summer,” Garrett said. “We didn’t necessarily do a lot of (those songs) with our own interpretation.”
Garrett called “Ladies & Gentlemen” an artistic project unlike any the band has done, and he explained the feminine stylings of several songs catered to the guests they had in studio.
“That record stands alone,” Garrett said. “Some songs work really well and others aren’t necessarily geared toward our regular Dusters show.”
What is included in the regular Dusters show is a plethora of foot-stomping and masterfully delivered bluegrass from across the band’s catalogue.
“We want to create, for lack of a better term, a roller coaster for the audience’s emotions, different highs and different lows to follow an interesting path,” Garrett said. “We change the set every single night. The whole thing is all about improvisation. We mix it up for our audience but also for ourselves as players.”
Garrett said he loves playing in the Stringdusters because of their ability to execute technically while playing with style and conviction, although, he said, the band favors soul over machine-like technicality.
“One of my main influences was Tony Rice, a fantastic bluegrass guitar player and singer and song composer,” Garrett said. “I witnessed him take many a break that wasn’t necessarily technically successful in his live shows, but he always went for it, and he always got a thrilling response after his solo.”
With that kind of passion for performance, the Infamous Stringdusters will play the Mauch Chunk Opera House in front of what Garrett said are some of their most loyal fans.
“We have some of the greatest fans from that zone,” Garrett said of the region. “Some of them follow us all over the countryside, and we’ve been lucky to have that. They’ve just been awesome.”
The Stringdusters are scheduled to release a new album of all original music, called “Laws of Gravity” in early spring.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts
IF YOU GO
What: Infamous Stringdusters
Where: Mauch Chunk Opera House, 14 W. Broadway, Jim Thorpe
When: 9 p.m. Nov. 17. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Additional information: Tickets cost $25 and are available by visiting mcohjt.com.