Since first kicking up dust in 2006, the Infamous Stringdusters have amassed their own collection of original songs, spread over five studio albums. But the bluegrass and acoustic-minded road warriors also have a wealth of cover songs in their arsenal, reserved for those extra-special moments of their live show. Now, the band has assembled five of the choicest cuts for a new EP, Undercover.
Set for release on October 9th, the project features songs by artists not normally associated with the bluegrass genre, including Pink Floyd and Tom Petty. (Listen to the group’s twanged-up cover of Petty’s signature hit “American Girl” below.) But Undercover also nods to more country-leaning acts: Johnny Cash’s “Big River” and his supergroup the Highwaymen’s “Highwayman” are represented, as well as an interpretation of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.”
“We’re in the middle of making the next Stringdusters album, but decided that it would be fun to just get in a tight circle in the studio, without headphones, throw some mics up, and play some of our favorite cover songs,” guitarist Andy Falco tells Rolling Stone Country. “So we did just that in Denver, and within a few days had this EP, which is essentially a fun live jam session.”
Made up of Falco, Dobro player Andy Hall, banjo player Chris Pandolfi, fiddler Jeremy Garrett and bassist Travis Book, the Infamous Stringdusters formed nearly a decade ago in Boston. Since then, they’ve received a Grammy nomination and shared the stage with artists as diverse as Phil Lesh and Del McCoury. The group will launch a fall tour on October 29th with a pair of shows in New York City, before hitting Atlanta, Nashville, Denver and other cities.
The band’s Undercover comes on the heels of a string of cover projects and one-offs by a wide range of artists. Singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin released Uncovered, an album of songs by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bruce Springsteen and others on September 25th; Reba McEntire and Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman joined harmony group the Shadowboxers for a run through Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” on Wednesday night; and Chris Young enlisted Brad Paisley for Eric Clapton’s Number One ”Change the World” during Young’s homecoming show in Nashville this week.