Things That Fly
The bluegrass community knows that the quick-picking Stringdusters are top-notch musicians, but the group’s third full-length album displays a heightened focus and elevated songwriting quality when compared to their previous releases. This can likely be attributed to the concentrated nine days the Stringdusters spent recording at rocker Dave Matthews’ Haunted Hollow studio with co-producer Gary Paczosa. Songs like the happy-go-lucky “It’ll Be Alright” and “Love One Another,” which benefit from some particularly tight harmonies, enliven this collection with a positive spirit. On a surprising cover of Irish rockers U2’s “In God’s Country,” the Stringdusters highlight the song’s haunting melody and turn the tune’s coda into a driving mandolin, Dobro and banjo showpiece. “Those Who’ve Gone On” pays tribute to dear departed ones who, somehow, still provide guidance, while the band waxes humorous on “17 Cents,” on which guest Dierks Bentley throws in his own two cents’ worth. The sentiment of the smooth lead-off song, “You Can’t Stop the Changes,” neatly sums up the forward progression heard in the enjoyable mix of musical virtuosity and unpredictability that propels Things That Fly skyward.