The Infamous Stringdusters, fresh off their whirlwind 6 week US tour, will have a new face when they hit the stage on September 1 at the Four Corners Folk Festival in Pagosa Springs, CO. That’s the first show date for their newest member, Andy Falco, who will join the band when original guitarist Chris Eldridge departs to become a full time member of Chris Thile’s Tensions Mountain Boys.
Eldridge, who was given the nickname “Critter” by Tony Rice while still a young boy, is the son of Seldom Scene banjo picker Ben Eldridge. He has made quite a name for himself of late, both with The Infamous Stringdusters, and for his playing with Chris Thile on the How To Grow A Woman From The Ground CD and tour.
Andy Hall, dobro player and vocalist with the Stringdusters, said that is was sad news when they first learned that he would be leaving, since the nucleus of the band had held together for so many years before they broke through, and they were all very close friends. He acknowledged the bittersweet nature of the change.
“Critter wanted to challenge himself musically in a new way, and felt like Chris’ band was the way for him to go. He is a great musician – and a great friend – and while we’re sorry to see him go, we all feel good about him being where he wants to be.”
But while recognizing that change always brings its challenges, Hall and the rest of the band are delighted that they could pick up Andy Falco as their new guitarist.
“We are all really psyched to have Falco with the band. He is one of the meanest guitar players out there, and he is also a long time friend. Andy has an amazing ear, and has just the sort of diverse musical background we need – rock, jazz and bluegrass – along with a funky, cool rhythmic sense.
We’ve been able to jam a few times with Falco, and the sound was awesome. I can’t wait to get to rehearsing with him seriously.”
Andy is likewise excited to pick with the Stringdusters.
“I am looking forward to joining the Dusters… They are a group that has incredible musicianship and creativity, and they’re also a great bunch of guys. They have been good friends of mine for quite a while, and I’ve always been a big fan of the band. It’s truly an honor to have been asked to join, and I can’t wait to start.”
The cover feature of the current (July/August) issue of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine is on Andy Falco, in which none other than Chris Eldridge had this to say:
“Andy plays with great passion and heart. I love his timing and his drive.”
Hall indicated that once they get this personnel transition behind them, the next move is to start collecting material for their second CD.
“We plan to start recording late this fall, and are really glad that Andy will be involved. Right now, we’re just having fun writing and getting excited about new songs.”
He also let on that they were all pretty beat after spending six weeks on the road. They performed 5-6 nights each week while they were out, doing festivals, clubs and concert halls, and sharing a number of dates with Crooked Still.
“Yeah… it was a long tour, but we had a lot of fun and met some great people. There was some great music as well, sitting in with The John Cowan band at Telluride, and having Sam Bush sit in with us last weekend at FloydFest.”
Check The Infamous Stringdusters’ tour schedule online, and make a point to catch one of the last shows with Chris Eldridge in August – and to check out the new sound when Andy Falco takes over in September. It’s not yet on the web schedule, but The ‘Dusters have a European tour in the works for 2008 as well.