Dobro in Hand, Colorado-based bluegrass musician Andy Hall, will go with the Infamous Stringdusters on a nationwide concert tour that begins January 20 in Albany, New York, and arrives in 17 states through early April. That’s a lot of trips in a short period of time, but Hall hopes to add an unscheduled stop to his itinerary – Los Angeles, home of the 64e Annual Grammy Awards.
The Infamous Stringdusters received a Grammy nomination in November for their Bill Monroe tribute album, but the awards show, scheduled for January 31, has been postponed due to the pandemic. While waiting to hear a new date, the bluegrass group has 33 gigs to perform through early April – a busy schedule that calls for Hall to use his travel strategies.
“The way I avoid burnout on the road these days is by not drinking alcohol, having a positive attitude and conserving energy during the day,” says the 46-year-old musician. . “I used to try to pack as much as possible on tours – hiking, skiing or sightseeing. These days I focus on the show and the music and I’m in the best shape for the show. “
Hall has performed in 50 states with the Infamous Stringdusters, who are releasing a new abum To the fray February 18. The group’s 2018 album Laws of gravity won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album and the band’s song “Magic # 9” was nominated for a 2010 Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance.
He recommends five festivals for music fans who want to attend a traditional bluegrass festival this year: Gray TNZT in Oak Hill, New York; RockyGrass in Lyon, Colorado; the Bluegrass Island Festival in Manteo, North Carolina; Thomas Point Beach in Brunswick, Maine, and Delfest in Cumberland, Maryland. In addition, there are many small festivals, especially in the Southeast, “where you can see top notch bluegrass,” he says.
Hall’s bluegrass career has come a long way since growing up in Binghamton in central New York City and attending Binghamton High School.
“The Binghamton area is beautiful – rolling hills, forests and many mid-sized towns,” he says. “Not much going on there, but there are a lot of colleges in the area, it was a great place to grow up and there were some great, down to earth people. I had a somewhat negative outlook on my hometown, but I think it went hand in hand with the urge to get away from it all and see the world. I returned there recently to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from my high school and was really impressed with what they do in music and theater. It changed my outlook on my old high school for the better! “
Hall left Binghamton to attend the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston.
“Boston is an amazing city – the arts, music and culture everywhere,” he says. “That’s where I started my bluegrass journey, and performed in Boston bars and New England festivals.
Hall spent eight years in Boston. He then realized he had to move to Nashville, the home of the bluegrass masters.
“Nashville was basically a music school,” he recalls. “I spent the next 11 years meeting my heroes and learning to play with the best. Nashville has so much growth and vibrant energy and truly is one of the greatest cities in America. Everything seems new there, but Nashville also has such a rich history. “
Hall now lives in a Denver suburb of Lakewood and enjoys Colorado.
“I like the dry air, the sun and the mountains,” he says. “I ski, walk, camp and run in incredible scenery. He inspires me musically and in life. Mountainous terrain can be dangerous, and I love it. The live music scene is second to none – endless quality venues and fans flock to see live music.
The natural beauty of Colorado and some other favorite places in the United States creates a warm and welcome ambience.
“I tend to like the big stuff, which is why I turned to the Rocky Mountains,” says Hall. “Washington State and Oregon are amazing with their volcanoes and lush forests, and the Columbia River Gorge is special. The area near Bears Ears in southern Utah is breathtaking. The indigenous culture and geography make it a pretty magical area.
Other favorites include Maine’s “incredible” coastline and Bar Harbor; summer on the water in northern Michigan and the American deserts.
“The dry open spaces are what really touched my soul,” Hall says. “The vast calm of the desert puts everything in perspective.
Abroad, Hall has performed in Canada, Mexico, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but he says “geography the most amazing “he had ever seen abroad was in Peru.
“I spent a month traveling the Andes 20 years ago and can’t wait to go back,” he says. “There are massive volcanoes and ancient vibrations, and distance takes on new meaning. High in the air, you become a little dreamy, and the landscapes dominate. There are huge areas where most people don’t go. The infrastructure is less, so the majesty of the landscapes is even more imposing. Your van could break down. You can stay in a cabin without electricity. Things are simpler in some ways.