Infamous Stringdusters & Billy Strings 1.13.17

The Orange Peel
Asheville, NC

Words By Taylor Hall
Photos By J. Scott Shrader Photography

The night started off with people slowly trickling in at 8 pm for an opening artist most Bluegrass listeners are just becoming familiar with. The aforementioned artist is none other than Billy Strings, the pride of the midwest. Billy is not short on talent exhibiting virtuoso level guitar picking complimented by a golden bluegrass voice. The band is currently on a tour that takes them across the country and back sharing the stage with the likes of The Infamous Stringdusters, Railroad Earth, and David Grisman.

The Stringdusters opened up the show with "You Can't Stop The Changes," the opening track off of their 2010 release Things That Fly. Things That Fly was the first Dusters album that I purchased and I have always enjoyed the upbeat message "Changes" displays. Next in line were "Where The River Runs Cold,""A Hard Life Makes A Good Song" and "Winds Of Change." These three songs are about the workingman's life, which is often the focal point of Bluegrass and Country music. The Dusters did not disappoint, delivering a heartfelt and genuine performance of these three originals. They capped off the trifecta of songs with a thunderous Bluegrass break down during "Winds Of Change."

The Dusters kept the momentum alive breaking into an old instrumental classic made popular by Mr. Bill Monroe and Doc Watson titled "Paddy On The Turnpike." The tempo took a step back for a haunting song off of the new album Maxwell. This song conveys the sentiment that money can't buy happiness, but that it isn't too late to change your fate. This song really evokes all of the emotions associated with Bluegrass, applying a happy undertone to a sad song. The combination of banjo, fiddle, and dobro is a cosmic experience. The tempo would change a bit as the band unveiled a love song penned "The Place I Call Home" followed by a great rendition of The Police's "Walkin' On The Moon." The set wound down with two sing-a-longs in "Once You're Gone" and the title track off of the new album Gravity. The Dusters wrapped up the set with a good ol' fashioned hoedown, riffing on the progressive track "High Country Funk" that left the set off on a high note.

The second set started off with two traditional styled songs "Sentenced To Life With The Blues" and "Head Over Heels In Love With You." The slow start to the set was perfect to allow everyone in the room to refill on drinks before the flatpickin' and foot stompin' carried way. The band burst into "Sirens" flashing the bands innate ability to lock into a groove. This song particularly showcased Jeremy Garrett on the fiddle. The band proceeded with a beautiful song off the new album titled Vertigo. They went full rockstar for the next segment playing "What's That You're Doin'?" another fiery instrumental putting all of the band's chops to work. The band would invite Billy Strings and local bluegrass hero Jon Stickley to the stage for the next two songs.

The first of the bunch was a cover made famous by Jerry Lee Lewis and The Grateful Dead "Deep Ellum Blues." The Stringdusters who are known for their improv talents really shined here. They continued on with "Sunny Side Of The Mountain." Having the combination of Andy, Billy, and Jon sharing the stage was an unexpected treat that really set the mood for the rest of the set. The band slowed down into some deeper tracks to round out the midway point of the set dropping "Get It While You Can" and "By My Side" before entering the fast pickin' cries from "Echoes Of Goodbye." The pickin' would stay alive and well as the band soared into the inspirational "Long Lonesome day," yet again showing why this band is one of the baddest Bluegrass bands touring the country today.

In store next was a progressive tune called "Fire" which led to a wonderful cover of "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" by Bob Dylan. The set closed out with a barn burner string expose, seeing the band perform "Gettin' Down The Road," a personal favorite of mine. The encore saw the band play a cowboy song off the new album titled 1901: A Canyon Oddyssey followed by another Bill Monroe classic "My Sweet Blue Eyed Darlin'." The show was everything I've come to expect from the progressive Bluegrass pioneers. The band will continue touring the Midwest and Westcoast for the remainder of the Spring.

Scott's Photo Gallery

Set One: You Cant Stop The Changes, Where The River Runs Cold, A Hard Life Makes A Good Song, Winds Of Change, Paddy On The Turnpike, Maxwell, The Place That I Call Home, Walkin On The Moon, Once Youre Gone, Gravity High Country Funk

Set Two: Sentenced To Life With The Blues, Im Head Over Heels In Love With You, Sirens, Vertigo, Whats That Youre Doin, Deep Ellum Blues, Sunny Side Of The Mountain, Get It While You Can, By My Side, Tragic Life, Echoes Of Goodbye, Long Lonesome Day, Fire, Dont Think Twice Its Alright, Gettin Down The Road

Encore: 1901: A Canyon Odyssey, My Sweet Blue Eyed Darlin


Popular posts from this blog

Livetronica Sampler 3.22.11

Buckethead: Gimmick or Guitar God?

Billy Strings 4.18.19

Shwarma, Cloud Catcher & Kaepora 6.21.24