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I think, in the long run, they’re just being themselves. ” Talk with the Stringdusters for any length of time and you notice not only their musical intelligence, but also how tech and business savvy they are. By and large, those aren’t exactly things bluegrass bands have been particularly known for. “Usually you get somebody that’s really good with the business, but they don’t play as well or you get vice versa,” says O’Brien. ” Pandolfi talks about things like cross-promotional opportunities and how the Stringdusters seize every chance to add rock clubs to the more traditional bluegrass venues and festivals they play.

In bluegrass lineage, they’re preceded by multiple generations of folks who’ve forged and tinkered with sounds. Some of the more recent trailblazers — all-terrain banjo master Bela Fleck comes to mind — are musical omnivores Jeremy Garrett who’ve worked up rather far-ranging incarnations of stylistic fusion. And to the Stringdusters, everything that came before them — Bill Monroe, the Grateful Dead, and the Flecktones included — is part of the progression of acoustic music and, therefore, appropriate for their present-day inspiration.

Falco, Hall and Pandolfi are from New York state, Garrett is from Idaho, Cobb is from Wisconsin, and Book — the last to give up what he calls his “ski bum lifestyle” and move to Tennessee — is from Colorado. Hall and Pandolfi (along with founding member and original guitarist Chris “Critter” Eldridge, who left in 2007 to join Chris Thile’s Punch Brothers) first began their conversations about starting a like-minded original band in Boston. So the Stringdusters — geographic mutt of a group that they are — don’t have much in the way of distinct regional markings.

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