On Live from Covington Kentucky, the Infamous Stringdusters draw inspiration from a new well, and use it to grow bluegrass imbued with the same soul that nurtured the music’s earliest iterations.
Comprising the quintet’s complete July 13, 2019, concert, Live from … spans the ’Dusters’ discography while leaving room to nod to their heros. They do so via covers and less-obvious tricks such as tacking the instrumental coda of Jerry Garcia Band’s “Rubin & Cherise” on to “Planets;” mashing Johnny Cash’s “Big River” with Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “(Turn on Your) Lovelight;” and taking Phish’s “Free” out of water and placing it on the back porch.
“We walked off stage that night in Covington, (with) everyone in the band feeling like everything connected,” Andy Hall (Dobro), Andy Falco (guitar), Chris Pandolfi (banjo), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle) and Travis Book (bass) said in a statement.
“The crowd, the music, the band – all felt like one for the night, and so we decided right then and there to release this show.”
Wise move. The two-hour, 21-song performance captures the group at its best as it dedicates “Those Who’ve Gone On” to Jeff Austin, covers disparate artists including the Allman Brothers Band (“Jessica”) and the Police (“Walking on the Moon”) and shows off its own songwriting chops on the gospel-infused “Rise Sun” and “17 Cents,” which sounds like an old-timey cover.
Perhaps the Infamous Stringdusters could been stitched together a more perfect album by culling tracks from various shows. But musical perfection is overrated and the decision to release this full-concert document ended up being a perfect aesthetic decision.