In the bluegrass world, as we all know, there are music fans and even DJs who are not fond of new, original songs being added to the bluegrass lexicon. The old standards are good enough, which is cool. Fans of early jazz and rock-and-roll are the same way. But, new compositions are essential to a growing genre. Even so, as with all different kinds of music, not all freshly-written songs are worthy, and some are straight-up lame.
The Infamous Stringdusters, however, consistently bring good new music to the table, and that is especially true with their latest release, Silver Sky. The group collectively had a hand in writing all but two songs on this album, with four songs co-written by Jon Weisberger and one each co-written with Sarah Siskind and Benny Galloway.
The album begins with a power song called “Don’t Mean Nothin’,” which reminds us that the Stringdusters can newgrass with the best of them. But then, the next cut is called “Rockets,” a wonderful number with a sweet melody that has the feel of something special, replete with a “Marriage Made In Hollywood” tease by fiddler Jeremy Garrett. That’s followed by “The Hitchhiker,” a powerhouse of a song that features excellent dynamics and a flamenco-esque guitar solo by Andy Falco.
Silver Sky also runs the gamut from the traditional-sounding cuts “Night On The River” and “When The Night Comes Around” to the horn-laden, reggae beat-driven version of Sting’s “Walking On The Moon.” And that’s the groove of the rest of the project, full of good arrangements and musicianship with the great Andy Hall’s resonator guitar ever present. As an added bonus, the Deluxe Edition features a second CD of live jams. (www.thestringdusters.com.)DH