Grammy award winning bluegrass, folk, Americana outfit, the Infamous Stringdusters, have released their first full-length original album since 2019’s Rise Sun. Toward The Fray was recorded at Denver’s Mighty Fine Studios and written in response to the 2020 events. Out February 18, this album comes on the heels of a 2022 Bluegrass Album Grammy nomination for their release A Tribute To Bill Monroe.
After finally being in the same room for the first time in six months, the Infamous Stringdusters seized the moment for their revealing new album, Toward The Fray. Inspired by self-reflection and a strong sense of solidarity, the project documents the group’s remarkable growth as instrumentalists as well as songwriters. Released on their own label, Americana Vibes, the collection also firmly establishes the band’s stature on the modern acoustic music landscape, where they’ve built a solid and enduring fan base among traditional and progressive audiences alike.
The five band members – Travis Book (bass), Andy Falco (guitar), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle), Andy Hall (Dobro), and Chris Pandolfi (banjo) -- wrote the songs on Toward The Fray separately, sending simple phone demos to each other during lockdown. Fueled by friendship and a mastery of their instruments, the 13-track collection feels live, but not necessarily loose, due to a synergy that’s developed over the last 16 years of playing sheds, clubs, and festival stages across the country.
“With all of our records, we always go into the studio to capture the live energy of our band, so I feel like we were all comfortable just plugging right in and getting started,” Pandolfi says. “All five of us have arrived at this point in our careers where we all produce – we produce our own music and some of us produce for others. We knew we could get it done with all that collective intel and know-how. One of the awesome things about being in this band is that everybody is always working on their instrumental game. When we show up for a new tour or a new album, we all get a chance to dig even a little deeper -- and you can hear that part of it. That's always been part of our mantra.”
Toward The Fray is also the first Infamous Stringdusters album with drums, with the band deciding that the songs were calling out for it. The band explores other creative directions, too, ranging from the persistent march of “Revolution,” to the comforts of home in “Pearl of Carolina.” Meanwhile, “Spirits Wild” will be relatable to those who can’t help but answer the call of the road. “When Will I Ride Again,” a sequel to “Tragic Life” from their first album, is cinematic but also emblematic of their own questions about picking up where they left off. “How Do You Know” and “Through The Floor” are among the band’s most vulnerable compositions in a catalog of exceptional material.
The Alternative Root named the title track "Toward The Fray" Top 10, plus rave reviews from Forbes, The Boot and more!