One of bluegrass music's key elements lies in the instrumental dexterity of its players who, when called upon, can peel off dazzling solos on their instrument of choice. Even so, the Infamous Stringdusters' banjo player Chris Pandolfi wasn't so sure about his band pulling off a mashup of every song on their latest album Laws of Gravity.
"The idea for this seemed really cool when we initially came up with it, but potentially impossible to pull off in a fluid, musical way," he says. "Then we thought about the nature of an album – a collection of songs that blend a set of native sounds and themes – and it actually made a lot of sense. Electronic acts do this kind of thing, but they have it easy when it comes to the performance/execution part."
Pandolfi produced video proof of this ambitious feat, recorded live at the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville, Virginia. Beginning with Law of Gravity's soulful opening number "Freedom," the band rattles off the 13 tracks on Laws of Gravity in order with impressive precision, and by shifting the key of some tunes manages to avoid any awkward transitions. By the time the four-and-a-half minute clip closes on "I Run to You," they've taken an entire album's journey in miniature.
"We had to figure out how to get all the instruments and voices to weave through this maze of different songs and sound cohesive doing it," explains Pandolfi. "It's old school tones meets new school aesthetics, which I guess could be a mantra for almost all the music the Stringdusters make."
Laws of Gravity was released on January 13th. The five-piece band will head west for a series of dates in California and Colorado beginning February 16th.