The Infamous Stringdusters: Silver Sky (Deluxe Edition)

Written by October 18th, 2012 at 9:17 am

The Infamous Stringdusters
Silver Sky (Deluxe Edition)
(High Country/Sci Fidelity)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Leave it to these newgrassers to push their ever expanding envelope by hiring hip hop producer Billy Hume (Nas, Ludacris) for knob twiddling assistance on this double disc (studio/live) re-release. Don’t worry though, there’s no rapping. The quintet sticks to the bluegrass basics with only unplugged banjo, dobro, fiddle, bass and guitar as instrumentation, but blurs the often rigid lines of their genre by pushing gently into light funk, pop, reggae, jam, folk and even jazz. The Stringdusters dubs its music “high country” (also the name of its label) and while there is no denying the heavy bluegrass influence, these songs are solid enough to be performed in a variety of electric styles, should anyone give that a try. Covering the Dead’s “He’s Gone” (the extra studio track on this special edition) isn’t much of a stretch, but rearranging the Police’s “Walking on the Moon” is. And when they bring Rubblebucket’s horn section in for a few tunes, the effect opens up entirely new vistas. The live disc shows off more of the band’s spirited and speedy instrumental dexterity, interplay and pickin’ as well as giving them room to roam in a less confined atmosphere, especially on extended pieces such as the nearly eight minute “No More to Leave You Behind.”

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