String Cheese Incident:
Another Side Of Cheese
Quick, what comes
to mind when someone says, String Cheese Incident? If images of
lower abdominal pain dont invade your brain you will most likely think
of a popular jam band whose prog rock flights of fancy recall bluegrass phenoms
Flatt & Scruggs jamming with Al Dimeola. Or is that the Grateful Dead hanging
ten with James Brown? Though the Boulder based band has covered styles far and
wide in their eight year history, jam band sensibilities have always directed
their path. Until now.
Closer is not a redefinition of the band, asserts bassist Keith Moseley,
referring to SCIs latest studio effort, which is mellower than manic,
more bucolic than bare-chested. The last album [Untying the Not] was just
one facet of what the band does live. The new album is just a reflection of
another side of the band that we have been doing all along, but the pendulum
just swung back that way for this record. We wanted to make something that was
more roots oriented. So while it sounds radically different from the last record
it is within the repertoire of what we do nightly.
So the progressive jam band label is purely a misnomer?
Absolutely, Moseley replies. We always have been more than
that. Also, working with Malcolm Burn [Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, Neville Brothers],
we knew what he would bring to our new collection of songs. We wanted to do
a record that was more acoustic based and Malcolm coaxed that side out of us.
The last album was more in the other direction, but we have always played bluegrass,
country, Americana music. So this is just highlighting that vein. And it was
time. Guitarist Bill Nershi and I have been particularly anxious to make a record
like this for a while. It seemed like a natural reaction to the last album.
Also including mandolinist/violinist Michael Kang, pianist Kyle Hollingsworth
and percussionist Michael Travis, String Cheese Incident is well loved for a
bold stew of sounds that the band has called a sacrilegious mix of bluegrass,
calypso, salsa, Afro-pop, funk, rock and jazz. The band has toured incessantly
since their 1996 debut album, Born on the Wrong Planet, and like other
road bands who favor live recordings, SCI has produced official and unofficial
releases that document the bands every move, typically on their own Sci
Fidelity Records label.
One Step Closer has a nice flow to it even though it is a joint
effort, Moseley explains. People keep pointing to a compromise,
and there is some truth to that. Everyone brought their songs in and Malcolm
helped arrange the songs into a cohesive flow.
But again, if you really know the band you will know that this is us touching
on one of the things we like to do and running with that. The studio is a creative
space for us and that last thing we want to do there is recreate a live show.
We are more excited to use the studio as a creative tool and explore the options
to break new ground musically.
One Step Closer