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Fresh Tracks: Bluegrass Harry Styles

Hear The Infamous Stringdusters Cover “As It Was”

Bluegrass rippers The Infamous Stringdusters love to give the fast-paced wood-and-wire treatment to gems in the pop-rock canon. For proof, hit the streamers and seek out the group’s versions of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” or Tom Petty’s “American Girl.”

Today, we get another version of a mainstream hit, with a nimbly picked reading of Harry Styles’ “As It Was.”

‘Dusters’ bassist Travis Book leads the tune with a hearty vocal performance, guided by his bandmates’ breezy fretwork. 

“I didn’t consider myself a fan of Harry Styles until we saw him perform ‘As It Was’ live at the Grammy Awards ceremony last winter,” Book said in a statement explaining the track, a standalone single from the band’s independent Americana Vibes label. “Not only was I totally blown away by his stage presence, I had that song in my head for a month. 

“My daughter was already a fan, so she was happy to indulge in my brief Harry Styles obsession. We listened to him a lot for a few weeks, but ‘As It Was’ was sticky. I wanted to play it with the band, and once we played it, we wanted to record it. We had in mind a jazz or a lounge aesthetic, and I’m really happy with the version we achieved in the studio.”

As usual, the Stringdusters have been staying busy with a full touring schedule. The group plays the Earl Scruggs Music Festival in Mill Springs, N.C., on September 1. They also recently announced they’ll be hosting a festival, The Infamous Weekend, at Pop’s Farm in Martinsville, Va., on September 15-16.

Book, who lives in Brevard, N.C., also gigs regularly in his hometown. He’s on the schedule at 185 King Street on July 18 and 25. 

Photo of Travis Book courtesy of Book/Americana Vibes

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