By Max Lowe Explorebigsky.com Contributor

When I first sampled the acclaimed album “Fork in
the road” by The Infamous String Dusters, it was
immediately evident why bluegrass enthusiasts across
the country declare love for this Nashville quintet.
With a full spectrum of songs from slow, soulful bluegrass
ballads to ripping instrumental folk tunes, the
band thoroughly put together the various talents and
influences of each of its members. In doing so, they
created something great.
Rumor has it, their shows are a figurative hurricane of
plucking, strumming and picking madness that somehow
strikes a chord with most onlookers’ folk-fired
heart strings.
Currently, the band consists of Travis Brooke (standup
bass), Andy Hall (dobro), Andy Falco (guitar), Chris
Pandolfi (banjo) and Jeremy Garrett (fiddle). They’ve
toured together for five years and produced four
albums.
Q+A
MLHow did the Infamous String Dusters come into
being?
We all met over a long period of time playing together
in different bands and becoming acquainted
through friends and other music lovers. I began
my musical career in Boston, but we were all moving
back and forth through Boston, New York and
Nashville. We officially started playing as a band and
released our first album “Fork in the Road,” in 2007.
MLHow have you all grown since then?
From my perspective, some bands are from the
start amazing and can continue doing what they
started doing and remain successful. Since we
started playing together, we have been continually
changing and evolving our style. Each member has
equal input in the creative process, so as each of us
evolves our personal technique, the collective style
of the entire band changes. We are, in many ways,
an entirely different ensemble from when we began
playing together.
MLWhere do the group’s influences lie?
Oh man, all over the place. Two of the guys played in
rock bands; two of us attended the Berklee College of
Music. I grew up playing jazz, bluegrass and modern
pop, so all of those genres have influenced my
style. We have band members who have played with
Yonder Mountain String Band and The String Cheese
Incident, so each of us have very uniquely honed but
different musical styles.
MLWhat makes The Infamous String Dusters
unique musically and otherwise?
In many bands, one or two of the members do a majority
of the writing, but with us, everyone has equal
input in writing and in creative molding of the band’s
image. We also all share equal stage presence, with
no person holding the spotlight. We don’t have a
single target audience, so we try and make our shows
available to people who might want to be dancing and
getting energetic with the music, and to families who
might just want to sit and listen.
MLWhat are your favorite venues you’ve played?
The largest?
Our favorite venues are probably the ones where
the mood is the most organic. Rock clubs, large
concert halls and roadhouses are great because
they set the scene for the audience to feel the
most comfortable. The largest venue we have
played was Red Rocks, when we played with
Yonder Mountain String Band, but we have also
played some festivals such as Outside Lands and
the Big Sky Blue Grass Festival, which are super
energetic and fun. We love playing at huge ven –
ues and having sold out houses of thousands, but
we still really enjoy playing small intimate shows
like the one at the Filling Station in Bozeman.
MLHow often have you played in Montana, and
what are your thoughts on Big Sky country?
We have played at the Big Sky Bluegrass F estival
several times, and [also] shows in Bozeman at dif –
ferent venues. I like Montana. It reminds me a lot
of Colorado in the late ‘70s when it still had that
rugged western feel to it. I fear that once Montana
gets discovered more than it has already, it may
lose that eclectic and rustic draw.