Here’s our first real music video offering that has transcended youtube’s orgy of content, residing now on a proper television set thanks to CMT. Produced by our amazing engineer, Billy Hume (both the music and the video), ‘Rockets’ is about optimism and change. As Travis said in reference to the song, “this is our time, our opportunity to do great things and experience life while we are alive.”
A few weeks ago I was up in Boston as a guest teacher at the Berklee College of Music, and I’m happy to report that the banjo is cool again. I was there for two days, working with students in the American Roots Music Program on everything from right-hand techniques to strategies for young professional musicians. Compared to my time there as a student roughly ten years ago, much has changed. These days there is a clear acknowledgement of the importance and popularity of traditional music. Acclaimed faculty are attracting talented students, some of whom will surely be a part of the next wave of exciting acoustic bands to hit the scene. Berklee is playing its part in the stringband boom with a program that’s barely five years old, but already significant. It was great to go back and check it all out.
I was a student at Berklee from 2001-2003. I started playing the banjo only a few years earlier as a freshman at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. I was relatively inexperienced compared to other players my age, eager to keep learning and working on my craft. I wanted to go to music school, and my main goal was to work primarily on banjo, rather than choosing guitar as a principal instrument, a workaround that other banjo players had used at in the past. Tony Trischka, my teacher at the time, suggested the Berklee College of Music as a place that might welcome the banjo, given its growing popularity. Read the rest of this entry »
I just rolled in from 2 of the most amazing weeks of my life, and I’m pretty sure I was at work the entire time.
To most people, being in a band means white 15-passenger vans, sandwiches for dinner, endless days on the road and an endless dream of big stages and bright lights. That’s all part of it, but there’s so much more going on before you hit the big time. It’s a lifestyle, full of important choices along the way. While the creative work is never over (we love playing music together), you can’t put life on hold. This is what the annual Stringdusters Ski Tour is all about. True, I did scarf down turkey on rye for dinner last week on tour, but I also enjoyed 8 days of amazing skiing in some of the most beautiful, inspiring places on earth. The irony is that when you are doing what you love you are usually also doing your best work, and that’s success. The skiing was amazing, the music followed suit and almost all of the shows were sold out. I want to go back now.
Many thanks to our amazing partners on this tour. Oskar Blues Brewery makes delicious beer in Andy Hall’s hometown of Lyons, CO. Mountain Khakis is a great clothing brand that embraces quality and the outdoor/adventure lifestyle that we love. Protect Our Winters (POW) seeks to ‘engage and mobilize the winter sports community in the fight against climate change,’ a worthy cause that needs all of our attention. POW was founded by Jeremy Jones, maker of the amazing Jones snowboards. His brothers, Todd and Steve, are the masterminds behind Teton Gravity Research, the absolute sickest ski film makers out there. And finally, big thanks to everyone at Icelantic skis. I first discovered these guys a few years ago during a legendary demo day at Targhee. Later that day I wrote an impassioned email to the address on their site, and a cool relationship was born. They make epic skis in the USA and live life to the fullest on all fronts–great people, great boards, great philosophy. Those beautiful skis in the video are my new Nomads, and I love everything about them. And thanks as always to our friends at GoPro for the epic video gear.
“What sounds casual and good-timey — handoffs from player to player, solos that turn into intertwined duets — is intricately plotted and arranged, attentive to the textures of each voice and string. The Infamous Stringdusters don’t leave bluegrass behind; they’re stretching it from within.”
We captured the Stringdusters monster fall tour with a bag full of awesome GoPro gear. Part 1 took you backstage (previous post), while parts 2-3 bring you a bunch of music as well as some excellent outdoor adventures. Can’t wait to get back on the road!
Yesterday kicked off three weeks worth of video retrospective, looking back at the epic 2012 Fall Tour that just came to a close. Each week we are releasing new footage at a different on-line outlet, taking you behind the scenes, on the bus, out into the wilderness, and on to the stage. This week’s video can be seen at Relix on-line. Thanks again to everyone at GoPro for all the amazing gear. And even bigger thanks to everyone who came out on this tour.
I’m combating consumerism with a sale of my own. But my product is all-American, created right here in my American brain and recorded at my old American house in TN, no genetic modification, no child labor, just original music and homegrown yuletide cheer. You also get a chance to win the best small HD video camera out there–the GoPro HERO 2. Everyone who orders before next weekend (Sun 12/9) will be entered to win one HERO 2 with case and mounting accessories. $10 per disc, $5 for each additional copy (includes shipping) is a steal for original music. The camera is gravy. Signatures and stickers and stuff–they will be in there no matter what.
I’m really proud of this album, Looking Glass. I wrote all the music and produced/engineered the record at my old home studio. I also hired my favorite acoustic players, including Matt Flinner, Stuart Duncan, Chris Eldridge, Byron House, the Dusters and more. I’m also in love with GoPro cameras. If you haven’t seen some of our latest GoPro videos, check them out and see what these things can do. Or check out their intro video, one of the coolest things I have ever seen on the internet.
So, email me to get involved (pandolfi.chris (at) gmail.com). You can pay by check or paypal, $10 (shipping included) for the first disc, $5 for each additional. I have to have your payment by 12/9 for you to be involved in the HERO 2 giveaway. Every disc you order gets you another shot at the camera. I’ll pick the winner on 12/10, and send out any remaining discs as well as the grand prize the next day. So everything will be there before Santa arrives.
This camera may or may not have some tasty old Stringdusters footage on it as well. The extras just keep coming…
Thanks to everyone who helped make this tour happen, it was really memorable for us.
And for whatever we can’t remember, there’s video. I brought a video rig on tour to capture a lot of the live music as well as our travels/adventures. I had 9 GoPro Hero 2 cameras, 7 wireless units, a mac laptop and a couple big USB hubs. I have most of the shows shot on 5-8 wide angle GoPros, sitting here on a hard drive, a few already edited and the others ready to go. Drew Becker has of course been putting next day audio on the Show Hive–an amazing way to keep up with the Stringduster experience. Now we are adding the video. The rig has it’s limitations (batteries, memory, etc) so I would usually get the second set. But there’s lots to choose from and an arsenal of new Stringduster videos is about to be born.
We are putting out one video every day this week, mostly performance stuff, some b-roll, etc. Then starting next week we’ll have a 3 video series that looks back over the whole tour, including some of our outdoor adventures, new music, beer tourism, tons of live concert footage, the Pacific ocean, spandex, and so much more. That’s going to be 3 videos, over three weeks, starting on 11.26. And then we’ll see what’s left after that…
Thanks as always to GoPro–amazing people, amazing company and such cool gear.
We’re four weeks into our fall tour, resting up after an amazing weekend of shows on the Front Range with our new favorite band, Lake St. Dive. Big thanks to everyone who came out in Ft. Collins and Denver–the energy was overwhelming. We also made a cool stop at the REI in Boulder to play a short acoustic set for fans and to connect with some of out outdoor world partners. I was lucky to cap the weekend off with a really unique show last night at Dazzle, hosted by Greg Garrison of Leftover Salmon, featuring some amazing local musicians (Grant Gordy, Jim White, and Dave Devine) as well as Jeremy on fiddle. We played everything from Monk to trad bluegrass, but it was all very free and musical, and the room was filled with hungry music lovers, just as it always is in these parts. CO fans raise the bar, constantly reminding us why this is truly the Dusters home away from home.