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Cirque Du Soleil
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Cirque Du Soleil
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Spotlights [Issue # 16 ]
String Cheese Incident: Another Side Of Cheese

By Ken Micallef

Quick, what comes to mind when someone says, “String Cheese Incident?” If images of lower abdominal pain don’t 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.

One Step Closer is not a redefinition of the band,” asserts bassist Keith Moseley, referring to SCI’s 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 band’s 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
Sci Fidelity

Another Side Of Cheese String Cheese Incident One Step Closer

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