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The Infamous Stringdusters – Let It Go [Album Review]

Painting pastoral soundscapes on eleven delightful tracks, emerging bluegrass band The Infamous Stringdusters croon and swoon on their latest album, Let It Go. The band’s fifth release, Let It Go is the essence of Americana, bursting at the seams with heart and soul. Listening to the album is an absolute pleasure.

The Infamous Stringdusters formed in 2007, receiving critical acclaim and three awards at the International Bluegrass Music Assocation Awards Ceremony for their debut album, Fork in the Road. The band’s popularity has only increased in the seven years since 2007, performing regularly at festivals, like Bonnaroo, All Good, and Lockn’. Their ability to weave traditional bluegrass songwriting with improvisational techniques has garnered them an enthusiastic following.

So what is it about Let It Go? After seven years of cultivating their musical style, Let It Go is an eloquent display of this band’s unique talent. The music is calm and comforting, yet never mundane. It’s simple, yet complex.

Take the opening track, “I’ll Get Away.” With a building intro that features all the musicians (dobro, guitar, banjo, fiddle, upright bass), the song begins with a straightforward verse, with earnest vocals singing about lost love. The fiddle player plays a quick fill between verses, but it’s the banjo picking that drives the melody of the song. In the chorus, however, yearning slide melodies on the dobro (a steel-looking guitar) add an element of raw emotion to the music. The middle section of the tune features a virtuostic-yet-jammy banjo solo, ultimately building tension for a final chorus. The sweet song is brought to life by the magnifcent musicianship, with intricate layering by each musician.

The songs on Let It Go have differing moods, but there is a wholesome, pastoral quality to the whole album. A song like “Winds of Change” drops into a gritty minor key, whereas the following song, “Rainbows,” is driven by a serene melody and rich vocal layering. There’s an exciting ode to “Colorado” on the album, one that whips its way into a call-and-response vocal frenzy. With elements of bluegrass, folk, and country, the Infamous Stringdusters deliver their Americana music with gusto.

The eleven track album ends with the title track, “Let It Go.” The stripped-down song mainly features guitar playing and vocals (with a fiddle solo as well). The harmonies on this song are simply divine. The Stringdusters close out their album with a piece of salient advice: “If you think you can make a difference, and the fire is in your soul, go ahead and take your stand. If you can’t then let it go.”

Here’s the official video for “Let It Go.”

Let It Go is a soulful expression of bluegrass music. It’s a testament to the bluegrass/Americana revival, but, more than that, it’s simply a fantastic listen. The album was released on April 1st… so what are you waiting for?

-David Melamed (@DMelamz)

Oh, and here’s a video of them performing a cover of “Free” by Phish.