The String Cheese Incident
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- The Basics
If any band can claim to have cornered the market in jam-based fusion bluegrass, it's the String Cheese Incident. Formed on the Colorado ski-resort circuit, the band has developed a fluid sound that replaces the blue in bluegrass with a kaleidoscope of colors and shades, blowing the minds of all who attend their live "incidents." Forge your SCI acquaintance with the ten-minute mellow magnificence of "Lonesome Fiddle Blues" from 1997 live album A String Cheese Incident (on which each track averages at upwards of seven minutes), and the hypnotizing jazz-fusion guitar solo on live-favorite "Land's End" from debut album Born on the Wrong Planet.
Rock, Latin, bluegrass . . . those SCI flavors simmer and explode, all over Next Steps.$14.85 The Basics
- Next Steps
With 2001's Outside Inside, the SCI began to embrace a traditional rock sound, encouraged by producer Steve Berlin (from Los Lobos), grafting a new level of accessibility onto the band's roots via solid piano-backed rollers like "Close Your Eyes," while permitting themselves a three-minute bluegrass detour on "Up the Canyon," which couldn't be more hayseed if it tried. Here's a band that relishes the chance to wear a huge variety of hats, as long as there's enough room to jam: check out the fancy fretwork that underpins "On the Road" next to the exotic Latin accents of "MLT" — both tracks appear on 1998 studio album 'Round the Wheel.
Bluegrass for ravin' technoheads? You will not believe your ears, in Deep Cuts.$14.85 Next Steps
- Deep Cuts
Fourth studio album Untying the Knot continued the band's tireless pursuit of innovation, and showcased their level of comfort with a multiplicity of styles, under the production guidance of Youth (a.k.a. Martin Glover, of Killing Joke) — hence the disorienting brilliance of techno-bluegrass experiment "Valley of the Jig," which fuses Eastern bass wobbles to spoken-word samples, intermittent thumpin' percussion, and traditional fiddles. Needless to say, the result is unique. You want to hear these guys really bring it for a live audience? The banjo, fiddle, and guitar runs on "Shenandoah Breakdown" are nothing less than moonshine for the soul.$14.85 Deep Cuts
- Complete Set
Boulder, CO, jam gods the String Cheese Incident started out playing in return for ski passes, but evolved into a band capable a transmitting their vibe a long way beyond Colorado's snow-dusted slopes. Sometimes they sound like a bunch of backwoods firebrands riffing on musical roots with boundless skill and a healthy respect for bluegrass tradition; other times they boldly explore uncharted sonic territory, weaving in disparate elements (including calypso, reggae, and jazz) as if possessed by an unpredictably mischievous spirit: hence the dark atmospherics of "Sirens" (with its almost surreal punctuation of sun-kissed reggae), side-by-side with the mountain harmonies of "Restless Wind." Despite threatening to splinter in 2007 (when founding member Bill Nershi announced his intention to follow other avenues), the band never really went away, reuniting for a series of "incidents" in 2010.$44.55 Complete Set
sci is always good wish there was a little more variety... no howard?