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The Infamous Stringdusters’ Winning Streak: A Q&A with Andy Falco

It’s been a wild ride for The Infamous Stringdusters. In the span of three days in late January, the quintet won their first Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album (they shared the award with fellow nominee Rhonda Vincent & The Rage) and also launched their new label Tape Time Records. Calling from his home on Long Island, guitarist Andy Falco is still beaming from the unexpected win, but he also admits it’s nice to be off the road, at least for a little while.

“We live a few blocks away from the bay so it’s nice. I love the ocean, the water, the culture surrounded with that.” he says, also noting the importance of being somewhere “you can get a decent bagel and a decent slice of pizza.”

Fresh off his Grammy win, Falco chatted about the excitement of winning, Tape Time’s newest act Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, and what could possibly be next for a band on such a winning streak.

I’m going to ask you the question that everybody’s asking you right now: How does it feel to win a Grammy?

It feels unbelievable. First of all, the other nominees are all incredible and they’re all friends. And, honestly, I was just shocked that we shared the win with Rhonda Vincent & The Rage.

It’s so hard to describe the feeling when you hear the name of your album being called in that moment. You work as a musician all your life and we’ve been a band for so long. You’re out there making music and you’re not doing it for the reasons of accolades or anything like that, but it’s amazing when you get something like [a Grammy]. You start to look back in a way. It just feels incredible.

So you found out in the moment, at the ceremony? They didn’t tell you ahead of time?

No. We walked through the red carpet thing and I was like, “Let me just grab a drink or something.” [Laughs.] I went to the bar and they were like, “No, no, no, they stopped serving alcohol and they only have water.” And it’s like, “Oh god, OK.”

They do about 70 some-odd awards during the day ceremony and I think ours was in the 40’s. 46 or 47, something like that. And you’re watching all this in this room with all of these super-talented people who’ve accomplished so much in their careers. People who are heroes and people who we look up to. So to be in the presence of all that is really humbling and is remarkable to see.

Did you get to rub elbows with or see any artists that you really admired?

I got to shake Taj Mahal’s hand, which I was psyched about.

It was right after we won because he was right backstage there. He was sittin’ down and we were walking by him. He had just performed with Keb’ Mo’. They did a great tune.

I saw some good friends that years ago I worked with at Sony Studios in New York, a few of the engineers who actually won Grammys too, for various things in classical or whatever, which was cool.

But yeah, you know, it’s kind of one of those things where there are people that you recognize, but sometimes I just try to keep it low key. I don’t wanna bother anybody, but I’ll still sit there and be in awe. But, I had to shake Taj Mahal’s hand. He’s a big influence and hero of mine.

What were those moments like, leading up to when you knew your category was next? Were you kind of shooting anxious looks back and forth with the guys in the band?

I think we got really quiet. My fiancée was sitting to my left and she said she could feel all the seats bouncing up and down because all of our legs were kind of bouncing. [Laughs.] That nervous sort of energy.

It’s like, no matter how cool you try to be about it, in those few moments right before–I don’t know, to me there’s no way to be able to keep that in.

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