Thursday, March 7 from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
Assembly of Dust
“I feel like my brain is vibrating all day long,” says Reid Genauer, the singer/songwriter behind Assembly of Dust, discussing the band’s new album. “It’s hard to sleep, I’m so excited. I feel like Lex Luthor, or that Mike Myers character, Dr. Evil. I’m sitting here twiddling my thumbs, dreaming up this demonic scheme, getting ready to release this germ on to the world.”
While “demonic schemes” may not come to mind when you think of Assembly of Dust, Genauer’s post-Strangefolk crew since 2002, his band’s latest album does have the feeling of something remarkable being unleashed. The record, recorded over two years, showcases Genauer’s maturation as a songwriter, as evidenced both by the material and the all-star collaborations that dot 12 of the 13 tracks. It’s rare to hear something so massive in scope and ambition, and yet so intricate in the tiny details.
“I wrote the songs, and a couple with [co-producer] Nate Wilson, and then had the idea to get guests,” says Genauer. “I had to think about who would make sense, who I aspired to play with, and who had similar musical aesthetics.” To that end, the band was able to rope in a who’s who of classic and contemporary artists, including Richie Havens, Phish’s Mike Gordon, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Martin Sexton, and Grace Potter, among others. Adds Genauer: “It ended up being a lot of time and energy and dealing with managers and explaining my vision and in a few cases even who I was. But it was worth it.”
Despite the number of guest musicians, AOD’s second studio record is incredibly focused, and one that deservedly earns comparisons to The Band, Neil Young, recent Wilco and even The Beatles (the latter two cited by Genauer as strong inspirations on the group’s new material). And it’s a daring album, showing off both their singer’s lyrical acumen and the band’s ever-expanding musical palette. The easy-going country rocker “Arc of the Sun,” a track that’s popped up in the group’s live set for a few years, features a searing psychedelic guitar solo from Phish bassist Mike Gordon that Genauer accurately describes as “weighty and dark, two things we’re not known for.” Meanwhile, “Edges” and “Light Blue Lover” float by on gorgeous melodies, contrasting nicely with the bluesier, almost grimy feel of “Pedal Down” and “Borrowed Feat.”