Bluegrass has grown, changed, and evolved countless times since Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys codified the sound in the late thirties. Bands like The Infamous Stringdusters have used the firm foundation of traditional ‘grass to build their unique styles. However, no matter how far afield they go, they keep that traditional sound at the heart of the music they make. In the past, the Stringdusters have even taken time to pay tribute to the Father of the genre. In 2021, they released the Grammy-nominated A Tribute to Bill Monroe. Later this year, they’ll deliver a hat-tip to ‘grass greats Flatt & Scruggs.
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A Tribute to Flatt & Scruggs will hit shelves and streaming services on April 21st. Last month, they released the first single from the album, a cover of the 1954 classic “I’d Rather Be Alone” check that out below.
The upcoming album sees The Infamous Stringdusters doing more than playing a handful of Flatt & Scruggs tunes. They also decided to record these tracks like they did in the old days. The whole band stepped into the studio and played the songs live. What we’re getting on the record is, at its core, a bluegrass jam with some incredibly talented musicians. They’re not just keeping traditional songs alive here, they’re also carrying on the improvisational nature of the genre in their solos, and that’s something special.
The Infamous Stringdusters Bassist Discusses the Tribute Record
“The concept of paying tribute to the grandfathers or originators of bluegrass is one we bounced around for a while,” said Infamous Stringdusters’ bassist Travis Book in a statement. “After Bill Monroe, the most logical, I think any bluegrass musician would agree, is Flatt & Scruggs. They’re legendary and without Earl’s banjo, bluegrass just doesn’t exist the way we know it today.”
Banjo had been part of the bluegrass sound since the beginning. However, Scruggs introduced a new approach to the instrument. The rapid three-finger picking popular among the majority of modern bluegrass banjo players is called “Scruggs style” or “the Scruggs roll.”
Choosing “I’d Rather Be Alone”
Each member of the Infamous Stringdusters brought a song to the table that they wanted to record or had meaning to them. Travis Book reached out to a friend for advice. “I reached out to… Jon Weisberger, and asked him if he’d suggest a song that he thought hadn’t been overdone and would suit my voice. I was thrilled when he suggested ‘I’d Rather Be Alone’ because I was familiar with it but hadn’t really played it much or learned the lyrics and it was a perfect fit,” Book said in a statement.
“It’s a lament and it’s a sad song but it’s so beautiful,” Book said of the song. “It’s just classic Flatt & Scruggs.”
A Tribute to Flatt & Scruggs Tracklist
- I’d Rather Be Alone
- Will You Be Lonesome
- Blue Ridge Cabin Home
- Earl’s Breakdown
- Cabin on the Hill
- Down the Road