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The Infamous Stringdusters

Let It Go – 2014 (High Country)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by The Infamous Stringdusters

At this point in their career, the Infamous Stringdusters are neither infamous nor are their strings all that dusty, but one could be forgiven if the band's capable acoustic repertoire doesn't elicit much in the way of excitement on their latest offering.

Bluegrass at its best tells stories, in a way that the instrumental prowess of the pickers supports and supplements in an active manner; here the songs are more of an afterthought to the instrumental accompaniment, which is mellow almost to the point of background music even on the sans-lyrics tracks such as "Middlefork."

Drawing from the contemporary side of the bluegrass/acoustic spectrum, there are plenty of fast-picked numbers here, most notably the spry "Winds of Change," which blows by on a bed of impossible instrumental runs. More often than not, however, the band is mired in a New Age-y mix that may as well have just left off the lyrics, though "Summercamp" does contain the unintentionally telling line, "Seems like everything shimmers." It's referring to the summer days of youth camp, but it could just as well be referencing the pristine, clinical production of this entire album as it slides by like so many warm, languid afternoons in August, enjoyable for the moment, but fleeting in nature.