When Grammy-nominated bluegrass act The Infamous Stringdusters were looking for a producer for their new record they naturally picked ... a hip-hop veteran? You read right, but don’t worry longtime fans — the Stringdusters aren’t rollin’ in Escalades or rappin’ about their bling’d out grills, though I wouldn’t put it past the iconoclastic group to try.
Producer Billy Hume — known for working with rap acts like David Banner, Nas and Ludacris — does add some big studio bang and a little Nashville pop-country glitz to Silver Sky, released in March. But otherwise, what you’ve come to love about the roots musicians is present and accounted for: airtight soaring harmonies, an almost rock ‘n’ roll emphasis on riff-based jamming and athletic, virtuosic pickin’ of all things stringed.
Live, the Stringdusters defy bluegrass expectations, appealing equally to fans of traditional music and jam-heads otherwise found at Phish shows. You’re just as likely to hear covers of songs by The Police and U2, or Middle-Eastern infused experimentation, as you are bluegrass standards like “Orange Blossom Special” or “Deep Ellum Blues.”
The Infamous Stringdusters play with special guest Big E of Sugarcane 9 pm Friday, May 10, at WOW Hall; $15 adv., $18 door.