Tag Archives: Infamous Stringdusters

Huck Finn Jubilee Bluegrass Festival 2016

Huck Finn Jubilee 2016
June 10-12
40th Anniversary
Ontario, CA
Photographer: Allen Erwin

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Hot August Music Festival

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Words by Tim Newby/ Images by Tim Newby & Russell Stoddard

Firmly established as one of the Mid-Atlantic’s premier one-day music festivals, The Hot August Music Festival, returned for its 23rd installment with a diverse line-up that kept alive the deep tradition of musical greatness that first started 23 years ago in founder Brad Selko’s backyard.

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The line-up this year tended towards a rootsy, bluegrassy sound with the Punch Brothers, Infamous Stringdusters, Railroad Earth, Cabinet, and the Sligo Creek Stompers all making appearances throughout the day. But as with Hot August Music Fest’s past, the line-up reflected a wide-range of musical tastes, allowing one to bounce between the three stages and satisfy all their musical desires and needs.  Looking for some blustery-rock? Swing by the man stage for the guitar-thrash of Shakey Graves. Need some Electro-funk?  Head over to the side-stage for the high-octane explosion of Pigeons Playing Ping-Pong. Trying to find some swampy-New Orleans soul?  The Revivliasts are on right before the Stringdusters.  Looking for some smooth blues?  Find the stage in the woods and catch Jarekus Singleton’s scintillating set.

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After all that the day ended with a nostalgic blast from The Counting Crows who showed that twenty-years on they still have it as they plowed through set that was chock-full of some of their greatest hits, “Rain King,” “Omaha,” “Long December,” and some choice covers, Bob Dylan’s “Ain’t Going Nowhere,” and The Velvet Underground’s “Elizabeth.”

 

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With fourteen bands, spread over three stages at the picturesque setting of Oregon Park, Hot August Music Festival was quite simply a treat for the musical soul.

 

Click the thumbnail(s) for more images from the fest by Tim Newby…

 

Click the thumbnail(s) for more images from the fest by Russell Stoddard…

 

 

Hot August Music Festival releases line-up

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Hot August Music Festival has released its line-up for this years edition. Topped by the Counting Crows and the Punch Brothers the line-up also includes Railroad Earth, Shakey Graves, The Infamous Stringdusters, The Revivalists, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Cabinet, Sligo Creek Stompers, June Star, Marah, Jarekus Singleton, Dennis Jones Band.  The festival features three stages set in the lush confines of Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, MD.

Early Bird Tickets are on sale now.  Click here for more info: http://www.hotaugustmusicfestival.com/tickets 

Check out Honest Tune’s coverage of last year’s event: Hot August Music Festival: Short lines, long sets, stellar tunes

Help us interview the Infamous Stringdusters!

Stringdusters

 

The Infamous Stringdusters have a new album, Let It Go, due out April 1, and we know you are as excited about it as we are at Honest Tune.  So with that in mind we want to give YOU the chance to interview the band.

 

Got a question you have always wanted to ask the Stringdusters?  What to know what they have been up to?  Curious what was on their minds as they wrote a particular song?  Want to know what their favorite place to play live is?  Well now is your chance to get all those questions answered.

We love Social Media so send your questions to us either through our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/HonestTune) or Twitter (@HonestTuneMag) by Thursday March 20, and we will get ’em answered for you.

 

While you think of your questions check out the video for the title track from Let It Go:

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Band’s Eye View 2013

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As 2013 comes to a close and year-end Best of Lists start popping up highlighting all the great music that was made this year, we at Honest Tune, wanted to find out what all those musicians who appear on all these best of lists were listening to this year.  So we asked some of our favorite bands what albums moved them this year and what were their memorable moments from a year full of great live shows.  Their answers provide a wide sampling of some of the great music that was made this year.  Some of it familiar, some of it not, but all of it well worth checking out.  Read on and hopefully discover some great, new music from 2013.

 

 

 

 

The four questions we asked each musician were:

1.) What were your 3 favorite albums of 2013?

2.) What was your favorite live moment of the year?

3.) What album or band were you most excited to discover in 2013?

4.) What are you looking forward to most in 2014?

 

 

DSCN8505editedKeller Williams

1.)  1. Bob Marley & The Wailers, Legend Remixed. Fresh spins on a universal music.

2. Pretty Lights, A Color Map of the Sun. It’s interesting how a DJ/producer will have humans play his ideas on instruments, record them on tape, press them to vinyl, then load it all in to the computer. That’s going above and beyond the call of duty.

3. White Denim’s, Corsicana Lemonade.  Super cool rock that rocks hard.

2.) Summer Camp in Chillicothe, Illinois.  Victor Wooten sat in with me the entire set.  It was tasty and the band was thrilled to be in the presence of the such musical greatness as Victor Wooten.  I  also enjoyed  the Bassnectar show at The Fillmore in Maryland.  I was dead center on the dance floor and my sternum was rattled. The energy went through the roof, it was powerful sh**t.

3.)  Breastfist, Tickly Shimmers. So funky. So complex. So funny. So weird. So good. Key track?  “Talk to the Fist”.

4.)  Looking forward to two huge bus tours with my new side project, More Than A Little.

(To hear more about Keller’s thoughts on Breastfist and his busy 2013, check out Honest Tune’s recent interview with him. Keller Williams with more than a little, its funky )

 

 

DSCN1473editedPaul Hoffman – Greensky Bluegrass

1.)  This is always tough.  I ask myself, “Did they have to be released in 2013 or did I just need to dig them in 2013?”

1.  Jason Isbell Southeastern.  Anders [Beck] said, “Listen to it and try not to love it.”  He was right.  This guy is freakin’ brilliant.

2.  Dawes Stories Don’t End.  I also think Taylor Goldsmith is a great writer.  If I dig the lyrics, I can latch on to a record in an unhealthy-listen-everyday kinda way.  I played this one a lot while we were flying this summer.

3.  Fruition Just One of Them Nights.  We just did 30+ shows with this band this fall.  I came home and listened to the album right away.  That’s got to say something.  Three amazing writers in this band.  Five incredible musicians.  Boy can they sing pretty too.

I did it.  All released in 2013.  I checked.

2.) In Chicago or Detroit I don’t know, we do so many shows in a row.” Checks calendar for a visual memory of the year, this is tough too.  I’m going with a recent memory.  It’s accessible and different.  I saw a lot of amazing music this year and (think) I played a great deal as well.  A piece that I will hold on to though is the emotion after our 9 week tour.  It’s sort of a sum-of-musical-moments. We worked so hard to keep it fresh every night and musically challenge ourselves and the listeners. The last show was hard but somehow we pulled it off.  I expected to be relieved (and certainly was) but I was struck with this nostalgia like never before.  I’ve already confronted this truth that there will never be another tour like that one.  I cried a little and it shocked me.  I was really surprised.  That’s a memory.

3.)  Jason Isbell.  The others above I was already familiar with.  Glad to be following him through future projects as well as looking back at his previous catalog. 

4.)   We’ve been working all year on a new album and it’s going to be released early in the year.  I’m anxious for people to hear it and there are some songs I’m excited to play.  Greensky is also going to play some amazing festivals in 2014.  I can’t say which but I can admit being stoked!

 

 

Mike DevolMike Devol – Greensky Bluegrass

1.)  1.  Jason Isbell, Southeastern. For someone who is generally so chipper, I’m a sucker for heartbreak. Not to say that it’s all sad- each song is just really poignant, and what Isbell says, he says really beautifully. I’m not yet incredibly familiar with his work with the Drive by Truckers, but this solo album is stripped down so charmingly, each arrangement in awesome service to its message. I listen to it almost every day.

2.  Frightened Rabbit, Pedestrian Verse. This Scottish band has released several albums, but their newest, Pedestrian Verse, is the one that has hooked me. It’s a study in texture, each band member contributing to a truly creative composite sound, that results in an album full of anthems. I find myself drumming on random objects and singing along at the top of my lungs.

3.  Lorde The Love Club EP. This is the prequel release to this fall’s super blockbuster pop sensation, Pure Heroine, which I also love. I know this is a jam publication- don’t judge me, but this 16-year old girl from New Zealand has created something pretty awesome in a world where Miley Cyrus and Toby Keith are the types to usually sell a ton of albums. She has a beautiful and unique voice, and the electronic accompaniment is just so damn sonically pleasing. Can’t stop listening.

2.)  Is it arrogant to choose a Greensky moment? Truth is, I play a hell of a lot more shows than I see, and I can’t think of any concert experience of this year that can hold a candle to the feeling I get when onstage with my boys. We finished a 47(?) show tour in mid-November with two sold-out nights at the Gothic Theater in Denver. That second night was some of the best fun I’ve had. We took the stage with a sense of victory that took us through that whole show, all relishing in the joy of playing, the pride of what we’d just accomplished, and the energy of perhaps our greatest fans of all.

3.)  Fruition. Didn’t discover them in 2013, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t discover just how awesome they are over the course of touring with them this year. If you haven’t heard of this 5-piece from Portland, OR, go buy all of their albums. When I first met Fruition, they had this charming string band sound, but with the addition of drums and the resulting growth in their songwriting styles, they’ve really come into an amazing, unique rock sound that is only theirs. I’m just getting started- They have three solid songwriters who can also sing stellar lead. Perhaps the most prolific of these is Jacob Anderson, who is also one of the best guitarists I know. Just plain shreds. Their three and sometimes four-part harmonies and vocal arrangements are some of the best in the business. And they’re just a bunch of solid, badass folks. Thankful that this year saw so many Greensky shows with Fruition as support. Next year, they’ll be too big to come out with us!

4.)  Sky’s the limit for 2014. First of all, I am just stoked for the release of our new album, If Sorrows Swim. We’ve been working on it all year, and I can’t wait to share it with our people, and hopefully some people who aren’t already “ours” in February or March. More great songs from Hoffman and Bruzza, self-produced and recorded with Glenn Brown in Michigan, like our last studio effort Handguns.

In true Greensky form, we’ll also be touring a lot. Festival season is already shaping up, and although I’m not allowed to talk about a lot of it yet, there is plenty to be excited about. What am I most excited about in 2014? The unknown. With all the exciting stuff that is happening for us, I’m gonna take the the optimist’s path and say that what I’m most excited about is all the cool stuff that isn’t planned yet. Who knows what the year will bring in terms of life and music-making experience, and I think that’s what keeps Greensky ticking in this often restless world of the touring musician- the people we meet, the scenes out the window of the bus, the crowds we play for, the spontaneous ontage pop-song teases. We have a lot of fun, and that’s what’s keeping us sane, and that’s what keeps us going from year to year. Come out and share in the revelry.

 

 

Patrick Rainey1Patrick Rainey – The Bridge, Freedom Enterprise

1.)  1.  Anders Osborne Peace – From the guy who brought us Three Free Amigos comes a full-length album that is brewed thick with soul and grit. Peace adds to a collection of songs that sticks with the listener like a heroin addiction. Anders’ guitar playing drips with good intention, but is over-driven to the point of dissonant overtones, yet somehow reaches the light at the end of the tunnel. This simple three piece band brings New Orleans Swamp to distortion levels, adding saxophone and the Hammond B3 along the way.

2. Lorde Pure Heroine – Intimate and fantastic, Pure Heroine is perfect for road trips and fornication. Consistent thumping bass lines and up-close vocals lend to a soothing and hypnotic experience. Nothing too complicated here, just good songs, perfectly executed with easy production. Albums like this usually make their way to my playlist because it’s clean and relaxing.

3.  Arcade Fire Reflektor – In contradiction to the previous two albums, Reflektor, has an uncanny abundance of density. The album itself has a live feel only because there is people clapping and cheering like there is a live audience, but the album ideally could not be more over-produced. This is one of the most expensive, collaborative, intense, and imaginative journeys one could expect out of listening to a bunch of invisible wave “sounds.”

2.)  David Byrne and St. Vincent (Baltimore, MD 6/13/13). – My buddy Cris Jacobs had won two tickets from WTMD the night of the show, and he asked me to go. I couldn’t be more excited because I really wanted to see David Bryne. I had never seen a show at the Myerhoff and it took my breath away from the moment I took my required seat. The band started, laying on the floor playing to the suspended honeycomb sound diffusing apparatus, that reflected the sound out to the mass of rather boisterous people. When David Byrne came out the crowd erupted, and I think I cried a little but I was soon brought back by his candor and personality. He said he had spent the day biking around Druid Hill Park, but it sounded more like “Droodle Pork” as he was demonstrating his best Bawlmer accent. He’s one of us, I thought. I soon realized that his counter part in the show, St. Vincent, was from another planet. She glided and pulsed so fluidly with the music, her presence was unmistakable, all while absolutely killing her vocal melodies and shredding a mean black shiny guitar. The accompanying marching horn section used every square foot of the stage and everyone played at least three instruments. Each song ended with a hard stop and the sound reverberated through the hall and through the bones of every person there. Acoustically perfect for that space, the band ended the show playing a few Talking Heads tunes, then laid back down on the hard symphony floor and played to that crazy ceiling.

3.)  Daft Punk – I was most excited for Random Access Memories because I remember jumping up and down on my futon listening to Discovery in my dorm room. This duo of robots produces the finest French disco in all the land. Throw a pile of synthesizers and vocoders at Pharrell and add a little Nile Rodgers and you got yourself a hit. Though after one listen, I did realize that I’m not in college anymore.

4.)  Next year I’m looking forward to playing lots of festivals with my new band Freedom Enterprise and this winter with The Bridge in Jamaica. 2013 has been a good year for music as the industry’s misfortunes have started to trimming out the grizzle. On behalf of all the musicians out there, I would like to thank the fans for their continued support. We’re the lucky ones.

 

 

Karl DensonKarl Denson – Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Greyboy All-Stars

1.)  1.  Justin Timberlake “20/20 Experience: I feel like this record kind of came out of nowhere. There is no real hip-hop being played on the radio anymore,  and the pop songs are monotone and terrible. I like the fact that a real R&B crooner record was able to make such a statement. I also like that all the songs are long.

2.  Fat Freddy’s Drop: I happened upon this record listening to public radio and I couldn’t take it off my playlist for a few months. Just a great sound, Nice mix of influences and A strangely familiar voice.

3.  Danger Mouse and Danielle Luppi “Rome”: just a beautiful album. The harmonies are way more interesting than I expected.

2.) Last Christmas I finally got to see Jack White live. ‘Nuff said.

 3.)   I can’t say a specific band. I discovered a lot of music this year. There’s a lot going on and a lot of things are changing.

4.)  This year I’m looking forward to making lots of music. The Tiny Universe has been going well and has a new album, New Ammo, dropping in February. I’m also taking my son to Costa Rica.

 

 

John Ginty 8x10John Ginty

1.)  1.  Amelita by Court Yard Hounds. Yes, I played on it, but it really is an amazing record. This is the second record from Emily and Martie of the Dixie Chicks, with Martin Strayer co-writing the songs and playing guitar. Great listen top to bottom, great traveling record.

2.  Made Up Mind by Tedeschi Trucks Band. They make GREAT records, that sound amazing thanks to Jim Scott, and have you seen them live?  Make that happen if you haven’t, one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Old school.

3.  Shout! by Govt. Mule. Always a fan of the band and their records, this was a cool idea to do the second disc with special guests on vocals. My favorite treatment is “Funny Little Tragedy” with Elvis Costello.

2.)  Playing the first notes of “Not Ready to Make Nice” with the Dixie Chicks on the “Long Time Gone Tour” in Canada. The power of song is incredible. You could light up a city with that energy.

3.)  Samantha Fish. She rocks. She released her new record Black Wind Howlin’ on the same day my new record came out, and I started seeing her name all over the place. Really dig her playing, energy, and songwriting.

4.)  I’m looking forward to summer, honestly. Touring in this crappy cold weather is for the birds.

(Check out Honest Tune’s interview with John Ginty about his new album Bad News Travels.  John Ginty: They can’t take the organ away from me)

 

 

Chris Pandolfi1Chris Pandolfi – Infamous Stringdusters

1.) 1.  The BandLive at the Academy of Music 1971.  Everybody loves the Band, myself included. I was so excited when this came out, even though I’ve heard most of this stuff a million times before. But that’s the beauty of the Band–their music is the realest real deal, and it only gets better with time. Even though they are known for their songs/recordings, the live performance is magical. The horn arrangements at this show are so regal and perfect, the Dylan stuff is amazing, and the setlist is something to behold. Imagine having that many incredible songs? Thank God for the Band.

2.  Washed Out – Paracosm.  I discovered Washed Out’s Life of Leisure EP a few years back and it had a huge impact on me right away. His sound is beautiful–dreamy and heavily textured but totally accessible. He’s got great simple songs and a truly unique sound, something I really admire as an artist. His follow up to Life of Leisure (Within and Without) was good but Paracosm is absolutely great. I feel like the sound is much more his own, versus the production on Within and Without. It’s as if he got back to his roots, and I love it. He also has a legit live band (I saw them in Boulder in September) that combines elements of electronic synth-pop with real instruments and lots of vocals. It was a big step forward from earlier iterations of the performance. I hope the Washed Out albums keep on coming.

3.  Phoenix – Bankrupt.  I’m a big Phoenix fan. I loved their last album, and in many ways this record is an extension of that sound. It’s all very consistent–pop hooks framed by really creative production. When Bankrupt dropped I couldn’t turn it off, and that’s the sign of a great album. There’s some conceptual stuff in there, and just a bunch of catchy songs. They also included a cool mashup of ‘sketches,’ entitled the Bankrupt Diaries, which looks at different early impressions of the music. You hear snippets of working versions which gives a cool glimpse into the evolution of the music for this album.

2.)  I went out of my way to see some great bands that I follow this past year, which always reminds me of how great true fandom feels. We lose touch with that feeling as professional musicians, but it’s so important and I’m more into it than ever. But far and away my most memorable musical moment this year was playing with John Scofield at The Festy Experience (our annual festival in central VA). Sco is my absolute improvising hero. His playing is just pure feeling, something I aspire to every time I get on stage–it’s the only thing the untrained ear really relates to and thus your greatest responsibility as a performer. It helps to be good, but it’s essential to be real, and Scofield is the best at both. He sat in with the Stringdusters for two songs, one of his, “Kelpers,” and one of ours, “Fire.”  We took a solo together, trading ideas and flowing with the music. Though the fan side of me was just freaking out, he was so cool through the whole experience that the music really came to life. I can never remember being more inspired on stage. Thank you John Scofield, you are a musical God.

3.)  I recently got into a great new album called Kittyhawk by Ki:Theory (aka Joel Burleson). He’s managed by a friend, and I’ve been aware of him for a while, but this album is just sick, a huge step forward in both writing and production. Ki:Theory doesn’t tour much, so the recording is kind of the thing. His early stuff was more vibey songwriter stuff, but the album is so thick with creative production, but not just for production’s sake. The sounds bring the music to life in just the right way, and they range all over the sonic map. It’s really impressive and great sounding–a big inspiration for me in my solo endeavors. I could see his music being much much more popular.

4.)  I’m looking forward to working on my solo stuff this coming year (TradPlus). The Stringdusters is such a dream come true musical outlet, but it’s also all about the art of compromise. I’ve been into lots of different sounds/styles for a long time and I’m finally gearing up to release some music and perform solo. The concept has evolved a lot over the past few years as I have learned the world of programming, worked on playing new instruments and discovered new influences. This is my vision, and I don’t have to compromise anything–it’s daunting but also totally liberating. I work a lot in my home studio, which is tailored pretty specifically for producing my own stuff–lots of software, VSTs, but also lots of instruments. It’s about new and different sonic textures, but it’s mostly about songs.

 

 

robert-walterRobert Walter – Robert Walter’s 20th Congress,  The Greyboy Allstars

1.)  It’s a little embarrassing, but I don’t really know very much about albums from 2013.  Mostly I’ve been listening to old records.  Lots of Prince and The Time lately, also Cymande and Black Sabbath.  I got a cassette player and have been enjoying shopping at the thrift store for tapes.

2.)  Greyboy Allstars late night at High Sierra Music Festival was one of my favorite gigs this year.  We also did three nights this summer in NYC with Houston Person, James Carter and Gary Bartz, one each night.  It was fun to play with those guys and hear them up close. Very inspiring.

3.)  I love The Mike Dillon Band.

4.)  More touring, writing and recording.  I enjoy making music.

 

 

Tom-Hamilton-3Tom Hamilton – American Babies

1.) 1.  Arcade Fire – Reflektor.  These guys are batting 1000 when it comes to making records. With a sound that is unique and always evolving. I look forward to their releases with the same excitement that I have for Radiohead albums.

2.  Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle.  Don’t sleep on this. She is part Nick Drake, part Leonard Cohen, and all woman. Her songs are devastating, her voice like a ghost in a dream.

3.  Atoms For Peace – Amok.  Four words: Thom Yorke and Flea.

2.)  I did a show in January with a bunch of my friends called “Joe Russo’s Almost Dead.” It was one of those nights that you never forget. We all clicked right from the first note.

3.)  Laura Marling. She’s is an absolute delight.

4.)  Touring the country a couple times over with American Babies. We’re coming for ya…

(Read our recent interview with Tom Hamilton on the making of his latest album, Knives & Teeth. Tom Hamilton & American Babies get their Knives and Teeth out)

 

 

JenningsJennings Carney – Pontiak

1.)  1.  Portal Vexovoid because it is super interesting and textured.

2. Cass McCombs Big Wheel and Others because it just is.
3. Rediscovered “Dreaming My Dreams”, by Waylon Jennings.

2.)  We played Hopscotch festival in Raleigh and participated in Seth Olinsky’s Band Dialogue. It was awesome. A bunch of bands set up in a closed off street and played one long big droning piece of music.

3.)  I don’t know.

4.)  Going on tour in the US and Europe in support of our new album.  Making more music videos with remote controlled apparatus.

 

 

GC-PR JPEG color _1Carol Young – The Greencards

1.)  1.  Paul Kelly – Spring and Fall.  Honest songwriting. Paul is in a class of his own.

2. Sarah Jarosz – Build Me Up From Bones.  Sarah’s an outstanding musician and songwriter. Sonically this album is on a whole other level.

3. Mark Knopfler – Privateering. Has two of the best songs I’ve heard all year, “Seattle” and “Redbud Tree”.

2.)  Paul Kelly at The Mercy Lounge during the Americana Conference, Nashville TN, Sept 2013.

3.)  Austin band, Sons of Fathers.

4.)  Heading back to Australia to play CMC Rocks The Hunter Festival in March 2014.  It’s going to be great to take our new album home.

 

 

Brian HaasBrian Haas – Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey

1.) 1. Samuel Jackson Five – Samuel Jackson Five

2. Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus

3. All Hail Bright Futures – And So I Watch You From Afar

Because I love new, unique, good, mostly instrumental rock and roll.

 2.)  My favorite live music moment was playing my new album Frames with Johnny Vidacovich at Snug Harbor in NOLA.

3.)  I was most excited to rediscover the Fuck Buttons, awesome album.

4.)  I am looking forward to Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey’s 20th Anniversary Tour !

 

 

Garrett7Garrett Anderson

1.) 1. Ben Folds Five – Live.  So glad those three got back together for “The Sound of the Life of the Mind” in 2012.  This live release was icing on the cake, especially since I didn’t make it out to see them on tour.

2.  Jack Johnson – From Here to Now to You.  Music video footage made me a little jealous I wasn’t in Hawaii making albums.  I’m a huge Zach Gill (ALO) fan and am glad those two teamed up.  Jack’s music is simple, but when I let it, it amplifies how much I love my life and the wonderful people in it.

3.  Anders Osborne – Peace.  I’ve only recently been turned onto Anders and I’m so glad I did.  His music resonates with me in a deep dark beautiful place.  He’s became a huge musical inspiration for me bridging the singer-songwriter and jamband worlds.  I’m still getting into the nitty-gritty of Peace, but a few casual listens and it sounds to me like he’s on top of his game.

2.)  Can I pick one of each? Being 2nd row Paige-side for Phish in Reading, PA for a great 2nd set (thanks Marc).  We were so close that the camera guy would intermittently block our view of Trey to get footage of guitar solos.  For me, I finally got to visit my wife’s family in Texas this year.  At my next gig back home, I sang a lyric of mine “we’ve yet to cross off visiting Texas” and got a huge smile on my face because we finally did cross it off the list.  What used to be a bittersweet lyric evolved into a reminder of a great family trip.

3.)  Snarky Puppy – I noticed some social-media buzz for their show in Baltimore so I checked them out online and was hooked.  They nurture music to get the maximum smoothness and groove out of each tune.  I wish I had the focus and chops to compose like them.  Just cool, quality, wonderfully executed stuff.

4.)  Seeing Umphreys McGee in town for my 30th birthday – you gotta get old but you don’t haveta grow up.  Also, my bassist buddy Paul has a nice home-studio and I’m excited to hunker down and work on new recordings with him.

 

 

seth walkerSeth Walker

1.)  1.  Wood Brothers – The Muse.  Creative, soulful, uncluttered music. it takes me back to the old Band recordings with a brand new/old thang slung from their hip.

2.  Tedeschi/Trucks Band – Made Up Mind.  Good songs and great tones performed by actual musicians.

3.  Justin Timberlake – 20/20.  “Pusher Love Girl” is a bad ass soul pop production.

2.)  Performing with Allen Toussaint in NYC and playing at Magnolia Festival Ampitheater to an amazing listening/dancing music loving crowd.

3.)  I discovered Rodriguez. The Sugar Man soundtrack. So damn hip and a great story!

4.)  Releasing my new album produced by Oliver Wood.

 

 

HowlingBros-ParkingLot-ByJoshuaBlackWilkinsIan Craft – Howlin’ Brothers

1.)  1.  Doc & Merle Watson – Down South

2.  John Hartford, Tony Rice and Vassar Clements – Hartford Rice & Clements

3.  Sanctified Grumblers – No Lie

2.)  Playing the banjo concert on The Shady Grove Stage at The Winnipeg Folk Festival in July.
Brother Jared Green joined me for some shuffle drum set adventures.  It was very silly and
fun.  Can’t beat that!

3.)  outta Chicago.  They feel good to my soul.

4.)  Being a troubadour.

 

 

KennyRobyKenny Roby

1.)  1.  The National – Trouble Will Find Me.  I really like the National. They strike that dark nerve in me. They let me know everything might not be alright. Like a good Cormac McCarthy novel.

2.  Charles Bradley – Victim of Love.  Like with Ted Hawkins, its hard to separate the story from the songs. But both of them are the real deal. Putting their stories out there blood, piss and all.

3.  Chance The Rapper.  I guess he really hasn’t made an official record this year? Just mix tapes. But my son turned me onto him and he is one of the better MCs out their in my opinion. Really dig his style.

Honorable Mentions: Nick Cave, Ron Sexsmith, Paul McCartney (these are all good records but I haven’t truly sunk my teeth into them yet). These guys are so good though that it is like saying “which teams will do well this year…. besides the Yankees and Red Sox. ‘

And last I have to mention Snoop Lion. That movie and record are the most strange and in some ways “Rock ‘n’ Roll” releases in 2013. You almost can’t describe how weird the whole thing is. I love it.

2.)  Someone yelling “Seth Rogan” at me in front of a 1500 people opening for Citizen Cope. Us overweight curly haired guys gotta stick together.

3.)  Charles Bradley

4.)  Recording new songs with my old pals from Six String Drag in January. I have no idea what we will call it. It doesn’t matter. For now I am just going to bring in some songs and we’ll bang them out and see what happens on the tape machine. Also I plan on playing more shows in 2014 than I did in 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Infamous Stringdusters announce Festy line-up

Live at the 9:30 ClubThe Infamous Stringdusters have announced the lineup for the fourth installment of their annual Festy Experience. JJ Grey & Mofro, The John Scofield Uberjam Band, Chris Thile & Michael Daves, Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers, Aoife O’Donovan, Marco Benevento, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Lake Street Dive, Della Mae, David Wax Museum, Nathan Moore & Bryan Elijah Smith and others join Grammy-nominated The Infamous Stringdusters for the 2013 event on October 10-13.

Hailed for being a truly unique celebration of music and outdoor living, The Festy continues to carve a unique and growing niche for itself. Hosted each year on the Concert Ground at Devils Backbone Brewing Company (a locally renowned brewery and full service restaurant), The Festy’s vision as an earthy fall-flavored Experience in the Blue Ridge Mountains comes to fruition in this idyllic, intimate natural setting near the band’s home base of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Onsite camping experiences range from Reserved Car Camping to Family and Quiet Camping, and there are bed and breakfasts, inns and rental options nearby for those seeking a less rustic approach. Among the three stages is the Workshop Stage, which hosts interactive experiences centered on the pillars of The Festy: Music, Outdoor Living, and Local Sustenance.

For tickets and information regarding The Festy Experience visit www.thefesty.com.

 

Full Festy Line-Up:

 

Infamous Stringdusters, JJ Grey & Mofro, The John Scofield Uberjam Band, Chris Thile & Michael Daves, Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers, Aoife O’Donovan, Marco Benevento, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Lake Street Dive, Della Mae, David Wax Museum, Nathan Moore & Bryan Elijah Smith, Cabinet, Chris Jones Band, Joy Kills Sorrw, New Country Rehab, Jon Stickley Trio, The Hill &Wood, The Fire Tapes, SoundRabbit, Dante Bucci, Grits-n-Gravy, and others to be announced.

Infamous Stringdusters: American Rivers Tour & Atlantic Beach Tour Announced

Infamous StringdustersThe Infamous Stringdusters have announced a pair of short, area themed summer tours for July and August.

The first the Atlantic Beach Tour will find the band tracing a route up the east coast with stops a beach towns along the way. The Atlantic Beach tour kicks off in Charleston, SC July 12 and wraps up July 18 in Asbury Park, NJ

The band will then head west for the American Rivers Tour which will begin in Salt Lake City, UT July 31 and wind its way through Colorado, Montana, and Idaho, before ending at the Targhee Bluegrass Festival in Alta, WY.

Also tickets for the Stringdusters annual festival, The Festy are on sale now. Full line-up will be announced June 6.

 

Full Tour Dates:

 
JUNE 21 – TELLURIDE, CO at NightGrass – Telluride Bluegrass Festival – SOLD OUT!

JUNE 23 – TELLURIDE, CO at Telluride Bluegrass Festival – SOLD OUT!

JUNE 28 – RICHMOND, VA at Friday Cheers

JULY 5-6 – QUINCY, CA at High Sierra Music Festival
 
2013 ATLANTIC BEACH TOUR

JULY 12 – CHARLESTON, SC at Windjammer
JULY 13 – MOREHEAD CITY, NC at Crystal Coast Music Festival
JULY 14 – NAGS HEAD, NC at Kelly’s
JULY 16 – VIRGINIA BEACH, VA at The NorVA 
JULY 17 – DEWEY BEACH, DE at Bottle & Cork 
JULY 18 – ASBURY PARK, NJ at The Wonder Bar
 
JULY 19 – OAK HILL, NY at Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival 

JULY 20 – THORNVILLE, OH at All Good Music Festival 

JULY 21 – PATCHOGUE, NY at Great South Bay Music Festival 

JULY 26-27 – FLOYD, VA at FloydFest 
 
2013 AMERICAN RIVERS TOUR

JULY 31 – SALT LAKE CITY, UT at The Depot 
AUGUST 1 – FRUITA, CO at Colorado River State Park 
AUGUST 2 – BOND, CO at State Bridge 
AUGUST 3 – BOND, CO at State Bridge 
AUGUST 4 – LIVERMORE, CO at Mishawaka 
AUGUST 7 – BOISE, ID at Knitting Factory 
AUGUST 8 – WHITEFISH, MT at Great Northern 
AUGUST 9 – SANDPOINT, ID at The Hive 
AUGUST 10 – MISSOULA, MT at Big Sky Brewing Co.  
AUGUST 11 – ALTA, WY at Targhee Bluegrass Festival

Infamous Stringdusters Ski Tour ’13 and new dates

Live at the 9:30 Club

In addition to their upcoming Ski Tour, the Infamous Stringdusters have just announced additional shows for March.

 

Following last year’s first ever headlining show at the legendary 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. the Stringdusters will return to the Nation’s Capital to kick a short run in the Mid-Atlantic with another headlining stop at the 9:30 Club.  March will begin with the Stringdusters playing as part of the Bluegrass Underground series in Cumberland Caverns, TN.

 

Make sure to check out Hones Tune’s recent interview with Andy Falco.

 

2013 Tourdates:

February 13th – Durango, CO – Community Concert Hall at FLC
February 14th – Aspen, CO – Belly Up
February 15th – Boulder, CO – Fox Theatre
February 16th – Boulder, CO – Fox Theatre
February 17th – Vail Valley, CO – Winter Wondergrass Festival
February 20th – Park City, UT – Park City Live
February 22nd – Jackson WY – The Pink Garter
February 23rd – Jackson WY – The Pink Garter
March 8th – Chattanooga, TN – Track 29
March 9th – Huntsville, AL – Crossroads
March 10th – McMinnville, TN – Bluegrass Underground
March 28th – Wilmington, DE – World Cafe Live
March 29th – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
March 30th – Richmond, VA – The National

 

 

 

Best of 2012 – A Band’s-Eye View

As 2012 comes to a close and year-end Best of Lists start popping up highlighting all the great music that was made this year, we at Honest Tune, wanted to find out what all those musicians who appear on all these best of lists were listening to this year.  So we asked some of our favorite bands what albums moved them this year and what were their memorable moments from a year full of great live shows. We asked each musician four simple questions.

1.) What were your 3 favorite albums of 2012?

2.) What was your favorite live moment of the year?

3.) What album or band were you most excited to discover in 2012?

4.) What are you looking forward to most in 2013?

 

We also asked photographer Jordan August to share his thoughts about some of his favorite shows and pictures of the year which grace this feature.

 

 

Ketch Secor – Old Crow Medicine Show

1.)  1.Chuck Mead’s Back In The Quonset Hut is a positively great Nashville record. It features the legendary A-Team sessions players and a host of special guests doing classic country songs, the kind everybody loves and nobody else in Music City seems to want to record. 

       2.  The Lumineers self-titled album. A couple Jersey boys move west and meet the prettiest cellist this side of the Rockies resulting in a truly beautiful record. Not just a couple of great songs, but a full and fluidous album that is seamless and a joy to hear.

     3.  Mumford and Sons Babel is a righteous record. I love those boys and I especially love what their success means to the scene we’re all a part of. Roots Music is on the rise. Betcha old Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, and Kitty Wells would be proud to know.

2.)  Last January my musical cohort of the past 20 years Critter Fuqua and I reformed our old duo Ketch & Critter and returned to our home state of Virginia for a half dozen shows. We played tiny clubs, a general store, and the Little Grill in Harrisonburg, the coffeehouse and soup kitchen where we first shared a stage back in 1993. It was a real homecoming for us. 2012 marked a number of significant changes for Old Crow and to kick it off, stripped down and in our hometown was pretty special.

3.)  I spent a lot of time this year producing an album for Pokey LaFarge, a great new voice on the roots music scene. Most of the records that truly excite me as a listener were recorded 80 years ago. Artists like Tampa Red, Blind Willie McTell, or Leroy Carr, nobody plays like that anymore. In 2013 a lot of people will hear Pokey LaFarge for the first time and believe me you’ll be glad you did.

 4.)  I spent a lot of time this year producing an album for Pokey LaFarge, a great new voice on the roots music scene. Most of the records that truly excite me as a listener were recorded 80 years ago. Artists like Tampa Red, Blind Willie McTell, or Leroy Carr, nobody plays like that anymore. In 2013 a lot of people will hear Pokey LaFarge for the first time and believe me you’ll be glad you did.

 

 

Chris Pandolfi – The Infamous Stringdusters

1.)  1.  Miike Snow – Happy To You. I discovered these guys a few years back and really got into their sound/style. This album has a lot going on production wise, which is not a surprise considering the background of the band members. But it also has cool songs, and I dig the alternate vocal styling’s. It’s got everything from power anthems to super-vibey-slow-stuff. I love the tune “Black Tin Box” featuring Lykke Li.

    2. Jon Stickley – Jon Stickley.  Jon Stickley is an extra nasty guitar player from North Carolina. He used to play in a band with our bass player, Travis [Book]. Now he’s off doing his own thing, mostly the JS Trio. His recent release ended up with us on the road and we listened to it quite a bit. The tunes are super inventive and the playing is world class. This is one of the best new acoustic releases in a while.

   3. Tame Impala – Lonerism.  This is an amazing album. A friend turned me onto Tame Impala a few years back but this release is a big step forward for them. I love the retro-production, which fits the music perfectly. It reminds me in some ways of the so-called ‘Chillwave’ electronic movement, which I dig, but it’s also pure rock and roll underneath the wooly layers of verb and saturation. Turn this up and rock out.

2.)  We played a show in Telluride early in 2012 and someone brought a huge Panda suit to the show for me (my nickname is Panda). So, of course I put the thing on during the second set. The head was so massive that I couldn’t see anything at all, which makes being on stage kind of difficult. The only thing to do was rock, so I got someone to plug me in and turn me up and away we went into some tunes. The people seemed to love this. I lasted about 4-5 songs and I was drenched in sweat, it was so worth it.

One other amazing moment worth mentioning: Travis’ wife Sarah Siskind sat in with Bonnie Raitt in Charlottesville a few months ago. After one tune together, Bonnie turned the stage over to Sarah and some real magic ensued. She just took over this huge audience with such elegant authority. It was very inspiring.

3.)  I know it was a really popular release, but like everyone else I was pretty excited to discover Frank Ocean’s solo album, Channel Orange. Even though I wouldn’t necessarily put it in my top ten, it was just really refreshing to hear something so conceptual and new. The songs and the album as a whole are both highly creative. His style is totally his own, and he really owns it, that usually makes for good art. Odd Future can be pretty shocking, but Frank Ocean is smooth and different on his own. It’s inspiring to hear someone in the flow like that.

4.)  It’s fun to be a Stringduster right now, everything continues to get bigger and better, which means we are returning to places with new music, a bigger crew, a more conceptual production, and the people seem really psyched! I’m excited to get back out on the road with my band mates and to continue bringing new tunes to new people all over the place. And I’m especially excited for Ski Tour, where recreation and inspiration are at an all-time tour high, and the shows always seem to take flight.  We are also about to get to work on our latest album. Writing, arranging, hanging and creating with my band mates is without a doubt my favorite part of being in this band, it’s the ultimate payoff.

 

         -  St. Patrick’s Day, 9:30 Club, Washington D.C. When the band took the stage they were probably more happy then the crowd. Bassist Travis Book had to say many times how honored and surprised they were that they filled the room to capacity the way they did. – Jordan August

 

Cris Jacobs – The Cris Jacobs Band

1.)  1.  Ry Cooder – Election Special.  I pretty much love everything he’s done.  He’s just one of those artists whose kept pumping out quality stuff throughout his whole career.  His tone, taste, and production are always right on time.  His past several records have been sort of “concept” albums, this one being politically themed.  “Mutt Romney Blues” is a personal favorite, his ode to Mitt Romney’s dog.

      2.  Kelly Joe Phelps – Brother Sinner and the Whale.  Kelly Joe Phelps is too under the radar for how amazing he is.  Such a soulful player, singer, and writer.  I love this record because it goes back to my favorite Kelly Joe sound, just him and an acoustic guitar.  His singing always knocks me out, and his lyrics are always challenging and a little dark. This is his “gospel” album, with all original songs that are themed in spirituality, but the lyrics are not preachy or specific to one religion, just universal themes that anyone can relate to.  And his transcendental country blues guitar playing is as good as it ever sounded. 

      3.  Tedeschi Trucks Band – Revelator.  This has got to be the best husband and wife duo of all time.  I don’t know what knocks me out more, Derek’s guitar or Susan’s voice, probably Susan but its close.  Straight up soul, with really great songs throughout this whole record. 

2.)  Papa Grows Funk at The Maple Leaf during Jazz Fest this year was completely off the hook.  I had just arrived that day, it was the second week of Jazz Fest, and the city was so knee deep in funk I felt like I had to catch up quick.  PGF threw down harder than I’ve ever heard them, they were definitely warmed up.  They graciously let me sit in and took me for a serious ride; those guys are some of the hardest hitting New Orleans Funk out there.

4.)  Getting married.  I’m a lucky man to have found the girl of my dreams, and this year we’ll be making it official.  Other than that I have an exciting new project that’s in the works that I can’t wait to unleash, stay tuned.

           

         – My good friend, neighbor and one of Baltimore’s most iconic voices has been making music with some of my favorite players this year. Sit-ins with Anders Osborne, Jon Gros, Greensky Bluegrass, Honey Island Swamp Band and so many more have taken Cris from your local neighborhood shredder to a full out, ready to rock musician. Any band coming through town wants him to play. Got to love the camaraderie of jam-scene musicians. -JA

 

Grayson Capps

 

1.)  1.  Brandi Carlisle – Bear Creek

       2. Dylan Leblanc – Cast the Same Old Shadow

       3.  Bob Dylan – Tempest

…all of these records speak in a way in which I identify.

2.)  Hearing songwriters in the round at the Frog Pond on Blue Moon Farm in Silverhill, AL during the Frank Brown Songwriter’s Festival. The line-up was CJ Watson, Nick Branch, Beverly Jo Scott, Randall Bramblet, Sergio Webb and Jeff Gilkerson.

3.) The Horrible Crows

4.) New songs, new music, new places to play, love, peace, and harmony.

 

 

 

Anders Beck – Greensky Bluegrass

1.)  1.  Tedeschi Trucks Band –Everybody’s Talkin’.  I am a HUGE fan of Derek Trucks and pretty much anything he does. His playing exudes soul, emotion and feeling more than anybody I’ve seen play in a long time. So this live album is ear candy to me for that reason. Listen to the solo on “Midnight in Harlem” or the intro to “Bound For Glory” and try and not say “mmmmm hmmm” like a somebody in the congregation of an amazing Baptist church during the best sermon of the year! Oh, there’s also the rest of the killer band crushing this live record. Oteil and Kofi Burbridge holding it down, Susan Tedeschi slaying it like the diva goddess that she is, an amazing horn section and much more.

       2. The Olllam – the olllam.  One of my favorite drummers in the world, Mike Shimmin, kept telling me about this new instrumental project he was recording with via skype and I kept telling him how much I wanted to hear it. Well, I finally did hear it and the tunes are always stuck in my head for days after each listen. The Olllam is different, the trio combines John McSheery, who is a Masterful Irish Uilleann Piper (like think the Jimi Hendrix of the pipes) with Michiganders Mike Shimmin (drums and percussion) and Tyler Duncan (pipes, whistles, guitar and rhodes) and the sonic result is something that is as unique and creative as I have heard in a very long time.  Each song is like a drive through the Irish countryside, but depending upon the song, you are could be traveling via spaceship, jetpack, Bentley, skateboard, or moonwalking.  My favorite track is the one I am listening to, until the next one comes on. It’s really badass!

   3. Marco Benevento – TigerFace.  I’m guilty of describing Marco’s previous records as “modern Beatles albums without words,” so it’s obvious I like the guy’s music. I am a big fan of instrumental albums and Marco really has the ability to tell a story with melody. TigerFace is no exception. Its more pop-y than a lot of what I listen to, but I dig it! The album starts off pretty dance party-esque, but who doesn’t like a good dance party? Once rolling, the album encompass everything I love about instrumental music, the melodic intention, the grooves, the tones, the curve-balls, the sonic textures and layers that are clearly created by the mind of a musical wizard.

2.)  Damn, it’s tough to pick just one! As a fan, my favorite moment was when my musical cohort and partner in crime, Paul Hoffman, sat in with Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers at the Hoxeyville Music Festival. I was loving the whole show from the front row (I’m a huge fan of Hornsby’s playing) and saw Paul on the side of the stage with his mandolin and felt nervous for him.  I mean, Bruce is such a heavy musician that he’s scary! Eventually Paul comes out and is jamming while Bruce is playing his accordion while standing on top of his piano, looking down at Paul, trading licks. I felt like a freakin’ fanboy.

3.)  I’ve been getting into all sorts of amazing new music. There’s a little known songwriter by the name of Bob Dylan who is really worth checking out! Also, for some reason I’ve really been into bands with animals in their names. These guys called The Beatles that I just got hip to have a really timeless sense to their melodies and lyrics. Phish too, they’re crazy! It’s like Fish, but spelled with a “ph” instead of “f”. They really jam as a tight unit. Check them out if you can find some of their live shows on the internet!

4.)  I’m looking forward to making a new album with Greensky. We’ve got studio time carved out of our ever busy schedule and the songs are coming together really nicely. It’s really exciting to make the “definitive” versions of songs in the studio. I still love our last album Handguns and I’m a pretty harsh critic of work I am involved in.  Should be fun to try and follow that one up. Festivals also, I always look forward to festivals, year round!

 

           – This band has been exploding into every city they drive through, devouring music festivals and spitting out thousands of new fans ever month. This show at the 8×10 in Baltimore was a throw-down. Bright light, happy faces and some really dark, trance-like jams filled the room with positive vibes and some of the best music of the year. – JA

 

Marco Benevento

1.)  1.  Deerhoof – Breakup Song. I’ve been a fan of Deerhoof since ‘06. I got to hang out with Greg Saunier in Japan. That dude is amazing!

       2.  Dr John – Locked Down.  When I heard Dan Auerbach and Dr John made a record together I freaked out!  Those are two of my top musicians to listen to separately – so when I found out they collaborated I had to get it AND it sounds so badass. That record is amazing.

      3.  Rubblebucket – Oversaturated. Kal and Alex of Rubblebucket are two of my most favorite new musician friends that I’ve been seeing more often these days. Their songwriting is so tasty. I could listen to these guys every day!

2.)  Bowery Ballroom October 12, with my band! I feel like me, Dave and Andy have made big steps forward in the live show department over the last six months. At the hometown New York City show on the TigerFace tour, something clicked and you can really hear it.

3.)  Wolf! featuring Scott Metzger.

 

          – Never a disappointment when he is here and definitely something that all the real music heads come out to see. Marco is talented, obviously. Seeing him go from playing classical to funky to soul to straight thrash-rock is something I will always love yet never be able to wrap my head around. Call him a prodigy, mastermind or whatever you want. He is still just a normal dude like us that happens to be incredibly good at what he does. – JA

 

Rob Koritz – Dark Star Orchestra

 1.)  1.  Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill (because it’s Neil Young).

         2.  Bob Dylan – Tempest.  Back to early Dylan

2.)  Dark Star Jubilee.  Playing with Bill Kruetzmann, George Porter JR and Mickey Hart all in a 24 hour period.  For me, it doesn’t get much better than that.

3.)  I’m a little late but for me it was the Carolina Chocolate Drops.  Love it!

4.)  Continuing with Dark Star Orchestra including our Jamaican Jam in the Sand with Keller Williams.  Also, making an effort to see more new bands and getting back to buying albums.

 

 Reed Mathis – Tea Leaf Green

1.)  1.  Dr. John – Locked Down

       2.  Medeski Martin & Wood – Free Magic

       3.  Nathan Moore – Hippy Fiasco: The Record

       4.  Rufus Wainwright – Out Of The Game

       5.   Dr. Dog – Be the Void

2.)  Marco Benevento show last May. Matt Chamberlain was playing some of the most insane drums I’ve ever heard.  At one point I turned and looked at him, and his hands were a blur, and there were woodchips flying off his sticks & toms, it looked like a man chain-sawing a fallen tree!  I nearly dropped my bass.

4.)  I am sitting here in the studio finishing up the epic Tea Leaf Green record we started in January, and I simply cannot wait for all my friends to hear this!  Very, very proud.  No set release date yet, but probably spring.  Music is awesome.

 

Mike Dillon – Mike Dillon Band, Garage a Trois

 1.)  1. Deerhoof- Breakup Songs. This band has been busting genres for 20 years, you can’t pin them down, yet I want to listen to them all the time. I know I love a record when it’s like a drug.

        2. Death Grips- The Money Store. Twists hip-hop, and Zac from Hella is one of my favorite drummers.  The music is compelling and different

        3.  ZZ Top- La Futura-  This was a hard pick over bad brains.  However, Billy Gibbons still has the magic. What I like about this record is that these guys are like the Melvin’s or Bad Brains. They keep making the same record. Cocaine and beer soaked funky blues from Tejas. They sing about getting paid, sharp shoes, and cool cars. Rock.

2.)  Mike Dillon Band at Bear Creek. Billy Martin took over on percussion. Iggy took me over and Carly destroyed the old guard.

3.)  Tie Grinderman and the album Grinderman. And Joe Buck.  We opened for Joe and he is a gem of realness in a sea of the mundane.

4.)  Writing more music and touring with my band!

 

 

 

Brian Haas – Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey

 

1.)  1.  AsInWe – As It Should Be.  Super smart instrumental metal that is symphonic, dynamic and cosmically sweeping in scope.  They play New Mexico desert rock.

        2. Animal Collective – Centipede Hz.  This band has created its own unique language and is the new definition of “psychedelic rock”.

        3. Sigur Ros – Valtari.  This is another band that has created its own language, both literally and figuratively.  Their new album sounds like glaciers copulating.

2.)  Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey performing The Race Riot Suite at North Sea Jazz Fest in Rotterdam was literally a dream come true.

  3.)  AsInWe from Santa Fe, New Mexico. I moved to New Mexico last year and this winter I got to hear this band live, crushing multiple national headliners who had to play after them. Amazing live show and great new album.

4.)  Making an album of my compositions with Matt Chamberlain under my own name.

 

Wil Blades

1.)   1.  The Tallest Man On Earth – There’s No Leaving Now. I’m completely obsessed with Tallest Man after discovering his previous record The Wild Hunt this summer (thanks to my lovely wife). He’s a singer/songwriter/guitarist from Sweden, hailed as the next Bob Dylan by many. His music is definitely out of the folk tradition, but completely unique at the same time.  He’s a genius lyricist, with a somewhat strange but super soulful voice. His guitar playing is equally soulful and he’s an incredibly skilled finger picker. I pretty much wake up with a different Tallest Man song stuck in my head every day!

      2. Jeff Parker – Bright Light in Winter.  Jeff Parker is a good friend and musical associate of mine. He’s also my favorite guitarist and an incredible musician who can and does play anything. Most know him from the experimental Chicago rock band Tortoise, but his credits include Josh Redman, Brian Blade Fellowship, Charles Earland and he is a member of the AACM, to name a few. This is Jeff’s third album under his own name. It straddles many genres with firm roots in Jazz. Jeff’s tunes are very spacious and open, with great harmony, melody and grooves.

    3.  Dr. John – Locked Down.  What can be said about Dr. John that hasn’t already been said? This is a really cool album produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. It’s got a very dirty, analog sound, which I’m always a fan of. There are some really cool blends of Ethiopian grooves and sounds, great horn parts and of course, great singing and playing by Dr. John. It will be a definitive record in his catalog without a doubt.

2.)  In early February I traveled to Ethiopia for a couple gigs and some workshops at Ethiopian music schools. While I was there I visited a well-known restaurant, Yod Abyssinia. They had a traditional Ethiopian band playing on a stage with traditional Ethiopian dancers. The musicians were fairly young, playing traditional Ethiopian instruments and this was some of the FUNKIEST music I have ever heard in my life, hands down! The grooves that these guys were sitting on were completely infectious, one of the most memorable musical experiences of any year!

3.)  The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt

4.)  New musical experiences, traveling to new places and continuing to grow as a human being.

 

 

Dwight McCall – JD Crowe & the New South, American Drive

1.)  1. Kenny and Amanda Smith- Catch Me If I Try.  Absolutely some of the best harmony that you will ever hear and the song selection on their CDs are always top notch.

    2. Special Consensus- Scratch Gravel Rd.  This is a group who has been through several personnel changes over the last several years but this seems to be the line-up that just gels really well. This cd has a great spectrum of material and is performed at a top notch level.

    3. Don Williams- And So It Goes.  Long overdo cd from a legend in country music. I thought we may have heard the last recording of Don Williams, but to my surprise he comes along with one of his strongest recordings ever. His vocal is as smooth as ever.

2.)  The chance to play with Tony Rice and Bobby Hicks at Bean Blossom Indiana. They have always been two of my biggest inspirations and musicians that I have looked up to my whole life. That is a show I will never forget.

3.)  Elise Testone. This young lady was one of the finalists on American Idol in 2012. I think she was 7th from the top to leave but she has the most amazing voice. I really hope the cd that she comes out with will be one that really showcases her vocals in the right way. I think she is a star if just given a chance. One of only a few highlights from American Idol.

4.)  I am looking forward to starting out with our own band American Drive this year. We have been with JD Crowe and The New South so long that it just seems like it is the right time to do this. My band mates Rickey Wasson, Matt DeSpain, Kyle Perkins and Josh Hymer are really looking forward to entering the bluegrass world as a unit with our new self-titled release, American Drive.

 

 

 

Paul Buchanan – Blue Nile

1.)  1. Bob Dylan – Tempest.  Because he is a poet.

      2. The Maccabees - Given To The Wild.  Because I did a tv show with them and they were the best thing on it.

      3. Llana del Ray – Born To Die.  Because I just heard it in a record store, and some records should work like that.

2.)  The audience at the first live show of Mid Air singing the title song to me, their breath visible in the night air, and their voices bringing me to a standstill. 

3.)  I first heard this band a few years ago, but I am excited about the new album from Up Dharma Down, Capacities.  Please check them out.

4.)  Life.

 

 

 

 

 

Dustin Welch

1.)  1. Shovels & Rope - O, Be Joyful.  Old friends of mine. I had a band all through high school with Cary Ann Hearst, the female half of the duo. These folks are as self-sufficient as it comes, and the records they make at home don’t sound like anything anyone else is doing. Their live show has more energy and enthusiasm than most full rock bands, and the writing is dangerously strong. All attitude.

      2.  Justin Townes Earle – Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now.  After my band with Cary Ann, Justin and I teamed up and had a band going for a while in Nashville. He actually put a song on here we wrote probably 13 years ago, which I also had on my first album. I’m sure I’m partial to both the last two records, because I’d seen the development of these folks as artists, and watched how they formed their sound. The producer, Skylar Wilson, and I have been friends since we were about five, and it’s been especially cool watching him define his style.

     3.  Patterson Hood – Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance.  I know who the people are in every song, and most of what he talks about, I’ve lived through myself. It resonates true all the way through. And again, very cool production.

2.)  Jack White put on an incredible show during SXSW. A guy who was in both my old bands I mentioned is playing with him these days, and getting to see him performing songs I’ve loved for years was a real thrill.

3.)  I guess it would have to be Patterson Hood. Somehow, I managed to avoid hearing most of the Truckers stuff and it was cool to finally discover his catalog. Okay, that and Lucero. Hadn’t spent any time with those records until now, either. It’s amazing to hear so many similarities in my own influences as with both those guys, and interesting to see how we’ve all got our own version of interpretation.

4.)  I’d be lying if I said it was anything but getting ready to put out my second record. It’s been several years since I released anything, so it should allow us to get out on the road and play for some new audiences.

 

Todd Clouser

1.)  1.  St. Vincent/David Byrne - Love This Giant.  A friend in Mexico City hipped me to St. Vincent right before this came out. I lose track of a lot of things that are being talked about in media because of living down here. I fell in love with her guitar playing from previous records. It’s all her. This record with David Byrne is grand and dance ready, but substantive and digging art, both visionary and acknowledging of past artistic triumphs in their individual catalogs. The result of two profoundly individual voices that don’t know how to be afraid.

      2.  Ron Miles - Quiver. Ron Miles on trumpet, Bill Frisell on guitar and Brian Blade on drums, recorded live. Phil Grenadier told me to listen to this record before we played some shows together. I could not put it away once I got going. Virtuosity is shelved, and it’s all beauty in space. No bass, no anchor, out to wherever you want to go.

      3.  Medeski, Martin and Wood - Free Magic (Live).  I had to stop listening to their records to avoid mimicry, but at this point I can listen again. I listen to where they come from, their commitment to each other and to music as language and expression. This record is profound and emotional, improvisational but not without its hooks, and entirely comfortable with itself. Its bare, they are there. Live tracks culled from an “acoustic” performance, meaning Medeski on acoustic piano. I get audible shivers listening.

2.)  Playing with Cyro Baptista at the National Auditorium’s El Lunario in Mexico City with A Love Electric. When you are somewhere with that type of history, surrounded by musicians from five different countries, a big full room, and we are improvising, the energy is wicked. I remember feeling like that as a child, playing in my basement, or listening back to the first thing I recorded on a 4 track, but not much since.  The profundity of the surroundings pulled music from everywhere I forgot I had it.

3.)  I discovered the Melvins, again, now called Melvins Lite.I went to a concert of theirs at First Avenue in Minneapolis when I was 13 or so, my mom dropped me off and picked me up. I went alone. I think I went because Kurt Cobain cited them as an influence, but for whatever reason, I was there, and I got shook. I maybe bought a record then but hadn’t listened since my early teens until a recent tour with Mike Dillon and he put on their new Freak Puke record, released in 2012. I don’t know what you call it, but it makes me happy in all its darkness.

4.)  Aside from staying on the road and things A Love Electric and beyond, I’m looking forward to Tom Waits doing whatever he does. I love him.  He’s the guy people will look back to as someone who said all the shit before it went down. I have to warm up to listen to him, it comes that real, his voice spits blood up my spine.

Andy Hall from the Infamous Stringdusters: Crack Open a Beer, Hang Out, Check out Music

 

 

 

     Since first bursting onto the scene with 2007’s Fork in the Road, the Infamous Stringdusters have established themselves as one of the truly cutting edge bands of the of the rootsy, Americana movement that finds bands ranging from Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Justin Townes Earle, and Mumford and Sons all digging deep into the soul of old-time American string band music and reinventing it for the 21st century.  While the Infamous Stringdusters roots may start with bluegrass, they have developed a sound and style that is much more than that, incorporating hints of whatever the five Stringdusters (Travis Book – bass, Andy Falco – guitar, Jeremy Garrett – fiddle, Andy Hall – dobro, Chris Pandolfi – banjo) can get into their ears, creating music they call High Country.  Their latest album, Silver Sky, is the physical extension of this.

 

After a particular busy year, which saw the Stringdusters release  Silver Sky digitally in the spring, re-release a deluxe edition of the album in the fall on CD and vinyl, host their annual multi-day festival, The Festy, and continue to be the road-warriors they always are as they toured non-stop throughout the year, the band is already gearing up for their next album.  They show no signs of slowing down the rest of the year, as they  are still currently on the road and will close out 2012 with a New Year’s Eve run that will find them ringing in the New Year at the Jefferson Theatre in Charlottesville, VA.

 

Dobro-player extraordinaire Andy Hall took time out from all of this to chat with Honest Tune about their stellar new album, plans for the future, and the forgotten experience of really listening to music.

 

 

 

Honest Tune:  You guys are re-releasing your latest album Silver Sky as a deluxe edition.  It was originally released back in May, you have now had a couple of months to kind of live with the album.  How do you feel about it now a few months down the road?

 

Andy Falco: We feel great about it. We have teamed up with SCI now.  When we released Silver Sky we didn’t do any distribution on it at all. We didn’t put it any stores, so this is an opportunity to send it to independent retailers.  It is not going to be in a Wal-Mart and places like that. We want to encourage people to go to their small record stores in their town. We really feel good about it [the new album].  We combined it with the live record [We’ll Do It Live] and added the bonus track [The Grateful Dead’s] “He’s Gone”.

 

HT:  I love that track.

 

Andy: Thanks.  It wasn’t really intended as anything when we did it, we were just hanging out picking and Billy Hume [producer of Silver Sky] recorded it.  He video taped it. We were really just hanging out jamming and there was just a nice feeling to it and it was a way to pay homage to one of our heroes the Grateful Dead.

We feel great about the album, and are excited that people can go to their independent record stores and get it, and if its not there they should order it.

 

HT:  I am old-school and still love to have my albums on viny or CD.  It’s great to hear someone supporting independent local music stores.

 

Andy: Yeah in this day and age with digital music, you don’t have to buy our music if you don’t want to. We also have an archive with all of our live shows which you can access from our website and they go up pretty quickly after each show. So there is that experience with the digital thing, and that is great for getting music out there and into people’s ears.

Then there is the whole record buying experience which I think people, especially young people, are not experiencing music that way anymore. And I think they should.  When we got our test pressing of Silver Sky on vinyl that was the first time I had ever done an album that was on vinyl. I was checking the pressing to make sure everything sounded right, and it was the first time in years I had sat down with a vinyl record and had the whole listening experience, which is such a different thing than listening to tunes on your iPhone or computer. I am psyched that we are trying to get people to listen to music that way again.

 

HT: It is a whole different experience.  There is such an ease now to listen to music anyway you want, that the idea of making listening to an album an event gets lost.  The idea that I am not going to turn the on TV, I am instead going to grab a beer, sit in my chair, and really listen to this album is kind of forgotten.

 

Andy: Yeah exactly, you pour yourself a cocktail or crack open a beer with a buddy and you hang out and check out music. You experience it, rather than just having it on. Entertainment just moves so quickly and I think people forget to stop and smell the roses. Music almost becomes almost a background soundtrack to people’s lives – which it always was – but they are missing the experience of it, the social experience of it. 

 

HT:  That ease with which people can get new music also takes away that sense of searching out and discovering new music. You lose the thrill of finding something new.  There is no more build-up or anticipation for new music; you don’t have to wait until you can find some random copy or import of something at your local store. Or having to hope you see this small band you’ve just discovered open for someone so you can buy their album from their merch table.

 

Andy: {laughs} Do you remember the days when you actually had to take a chance on bands? I remember going to the record store with $10-$15 and browsing around and picking up a record and saying, “I heard this is good, but I don’t really know, I guess I will try it.”

 

HT: I have a large CD collection with some albums that I took a chance on that turned out to be not such a wise move.

 

Andy: {laughs} Yeah man, people have gotten really used to how easy it is to get new music.  I saw something on Facebook where people were freaking out because; someone young was on there just telling the truth by saying that she doesn’t buy music. Her attitude was why would anyone buy music these days?  And she was right. Younger people who weren’t there in the age of Tower Records and whatnot – when that is how you had to get your music – don’t know any other way to get their music.  So I think it is important to still provide an online way for them to get music, but still also have a physical copy in the record stores.

 

HT:  I think what people forget is that someone has to make this music, and if everyone goes and gets it for free, that band who worked their ass off to make that album isn’t getting any kind of reward and they may have to say, “We can’t afford to do this anymore we have to find real jobs.”

 

Andy: I fully support people who want to go out and use Spotify or YouTube or our archive and don’t pay a cent to listen to our music, I am fine with that.  But what I remind people is that if you do that with us or any other band, remember when that band comes to your town go to their shows, pick up a t-shirt or something. If you are not going to pay for the music, you can still support the band in someway. It’s important to always do that.  Just get a ticket to the show and be part of the scene. If you want to help a band out it doesn’t always have to be with money. If a band posts a video and you like it, share it with your friends.  Help them out, spread the word. That is all stuff that falls under supporting the band. That helps out bands a lot.

 

HT:  That’s a really good point, I think people do not always remember the different ways they can support a band they like besides just buying their albums.  Swinging back to the new album, what did you do differently or the same this time around when writing and recording Silver Sky?

 

Andy: You know what seems to be the same on every record is that we always have a little bit different of an approach. You are always trying to grow as an artist, band, and as songwriters.  In this instance we had a producer Billy Hume, who is amazing, who we met through our manager. He is just an amazingly creative guy. He doesn’t make bluegrass records. He is more known for his work on hit rap records, but he has a folk background and he is just a really creative energy that brought a whole other thing to our table. I feel his mark on the record is that he was able to match the energy of our live shows and bring it to the record.  It was an amazing experience to work with Billy and I expect to work with him many more times in the future.

 

HT: Since The Stringdusters and Billy kind of come from different musical worlds, was there every a time when there was a “language” issue when trying to describe or explain something to each other?

 

Andy: I think when you bring two different worlds like that together you are always learning from each other, finding that “that’s cool how you do that” moment.  But the end product is making a record, and whether its bluegrass, or rap, or rock, it is all the same thing.  You go in trying to make the best album you can, with the best songs you have, get the performance you can, and make the best statement you can with the record.  So there is definitely a universal language there we relied on.

 

HT: I think what you said about the album capturing your live energy is true. Your live show is one of your many strengths and Silver Sky really captures the energy of what you guys do on stage.  Do you find you write  songs for the stage and try and take them into the studio or you write songs in the studio and then try and work them out for your live performance?

 

Andy: You know that’s the big question what to do with that {laughs}.  I think it is different for each song. Sometimes you have songs that never make it on an album, but become a regular part of your live rotation for the show. I think the next time around for the next studio album we are going to try and road test a few more of the songs than we normally do.  I think back in the day, when you had a record label, the label would frown upon tunes being played from the record before the record dropped.  That is an old school style of thinking.  But really does it matter? We don’t have a record label; we are our own record label so we can make our own decisions about that. So it’s like, “shoot yeah man, we want to play these tunes.”
 

It’s interesting to play something in front of an audience and see their reaction to it. That’s really cool to see your audience and see how they react to songs. It is a great way to get perspective on those songs. Because ultimately when we go back to the studio – we are a five piece band on stage - but when we go to the studio we can add other things and other elements. When you play a live show there is an energy transfer from audience to band that happens.  You don’t get that energy transfer when you make a studio recording. So one of the ways to simulate that is by adding certain things, like a little bit of piano or an organ, or percussion, or stuff like that.  Like we were talking about, listening to a studio album is a different experience; it should be a different experience than a live show where you are performing the songs and you have that energy transfer going on to fill in those gaps.  I think road testing the songs on the next record is going to be something we do, and we are just always trying to be growing as artists and songwriters.

 

HT:  Where do you find inspiration from for the next record?  What kinds of things are you listening to – something older, something newer?

 

Andy: Different guys in the band listen to all kinds of music – from rock music to electronic music to everything. I think what is interesting is the similarities between trancey-electronic music and what we do with a kind of jammy music. It is this very similar kind of thing, just with different instruments. 

 I find inspiration myself in a lot of different things, by observing what’s going on in the world, or in my own personal life, or in my family.  I went to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame a few days ago for the first time and it was inspiring. I thought it would be cool, but I didn’t realize how inspiring it would be. Holy cow, just to walk through there, it was so inspiring to see the cream of the crop of rock ‘n’ roll music. And it is really an interactive kind of exhibit the way they do it. They had a great Grateful Dead exhibit and a great Beatles exhibit. So that is where I draw inspiration from, and also from our peers.  We are fortunate enough in the summer months to play a lot of festivals and you get to see a lot of music you wouldn’t maybe get to see otherwise.  It all sort of gets in there and influences somehow.

 

HT:  Do you still draw inspiration from any of the older more traditional names in bluegrass?

 Andy: I think these days my exploration into classic bluegrass is not quite as common now as say me going and listening closely to a Beatles record or something like that.  Right now most of the classic stuff I am listening to is like Hendrix and The Beatles.  I am huge Mike Bloomfield fan – he is one of my favorite guitar players – and he is not a bluegrass player by any means.  We lost Doc Watson recently and that inspired me to go back to some Doc records and check that out again.  I have a tendency to kind of just listen to stuff that I really like, and try and put it into the context of what we are doing.

 

 HT:  What are your plans going forward the rest of the year and beyond?  Have you started writing new songs for the next album?

 

Andy:?We have our New Year’s Run which is always fun and I am looking forward to that.  We are going toTulum,Mexico in December with [Leftover] Salmon, Yonder [Mountain String Band], and Railroad Earth.

 Generally we have already started putting new songs together.  On this tour right now in particular – because we all live kind of scattered across the country – since we are all together we are really trying to maximize our time together and work on some new material. We have been working out some new songs and have been writing together. I am looking forward to getting back into the studio maybe in the spring. I think we should be ready by then.  We will be sprinkling in new material over the course of the next several months. You can count on some new Dusters material.  I want to encourage people to go to our archive and check out our shows.  Our man Drew Becker who does our front house sound and records the shows does a great job getting them up on there, so you can probably find some of the new material on there as well.

                                                       

 

Silver Sky Deluxe Edition is out now. 

To see more live photos of the Infamous Stringdusters by Jordan August please visit here.