The Infamous Stringdusters emerged from the chaos of the past two years with their most introspective album yet, Toward the Fray. Out now via American Vibes, the 12-track offering hears the jamgrass outfit offer biting social commentary atop blistering mountain music.
Toward the Fray traces its root back to 2020 and the aftermath of George Floyd‘s murder at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. As an all-white bluegrass band, the members of The Infamous Stringdusters challenged themselves to look inward and examine their impact on the societal landscape in which they find themselves. Combined with an extended break in touring, this self-examination birthed an unflinching look at themselves and their impact on society as a whole.
“All five of us took that opportunity for our consciousness to evolve, and we took the responsibility seriously,” bassist Travis Book said. “That’s what I hear when I listen to this record. The songs are very honest and real, but what other option do we have?”
This consciousness evolution is highlighted in the album’s centerpiece, “I Didn’t Know”. The band readily confronts its own ignorance with the refrain “I didn’t know there was a sharp and bitter line, I didn’t know that I was standing on the easy side/I didn’t know that we were going different ways, I didn’t know that we were headed for our darkest days.”
Rather than spending the next nine tracks wallowing in self-pity for their lack of awareness, The Infamous Stringdusters immediately turn that confusion into frustration with “Means to an End”. With a sound like if Drive-By Truckers picked up banjos and fiddles, the Dusters prove they can still make barn-stomping music with cerebral lyricism.
“To me, the theme of Toward the Fray is about dealing with your problems head on, rather than running away from them,” guitarist Andy Falco said. “One of the things that I’m really proud of is that this record is true to all of us. It’s a genuine record because it really is about everything that we were all going through. We’re talking about the pandemic and all of the chaos, but we’re talking about love and other things, too. We were able to reflect and dive deep and look inward during all of this. I hope people who hear these songs will feel like they’re not alone. That’s what we always hope that people can relate to in our songs—that we’re all in it together.”
Stream the new Infamous Strindusters album Toward the Fray via the player below or on your preferred streaming platform. Along with the album release, the band and American Vibes have announced a partnership with Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. The partnership commences on April 16th with an event featuring American Vibes artists, a full-bar takeover by Denver’s Station 26 Brewing, on-site activations from Cheeba Chews and Rosenberg’s Bagels, contests, games, and more. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months.
The Infamous Stringdusters – Toward the Fray