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By Written by Jim Murray
State Of Mind Music
June 6, 2005

Assembly of Dust, Clearwater Music Festival, June 19, 2005
The word is officially out on the Assembly of Dust. The band continues to win the hearts of music lovers far and wide, as evidenced at last weekends Clearwater Gathering along the banks of the Hudson River. Led by former Strangefolk front man Reid Genauer, the Dust has blazed a wicked path through the jam world, including a highly applauded sophomore album, The Honest Hour, a recent performance of World Cafi Live for National Public Radio, and a well-received appearance at last months colossal Bonnaroo Music Festival.

These guys are hardly new faces. Genauer is backed by Percy Hill bassist John Lecesse and keyboardist Nate Wilson, alongside lead guitarist Adam Terrell and drummer Andy Herrick. Each is an accomplished individual player in his own right; the result is a melting pot of folk, funk, and jazzor hick funk as the band has jokingly referred to it. Whatever the case, it is rootsy, democratic, and downright danceable.

Clearwater's beauty was in its simplicity a short, tight-reigned set anchored mainly by the hook of lead guitarist Adam Terrell and the inviting warmth of Genauer's voice. Opening with the first single from The Honest Hour, "Man with a Plan", the band wasted no time pulling the crowd in, many of whom it seemed were unfamiliar with the band and its sound. A gentle, quirky sway danced over the chirping rhythm as Genauer and keyboardist Nate Wilson swapped vocals; the tune finally carried off by the mounting shouts of Terrell's guitar. A funky, extended "Burned Down" was an early highlight, followed by a breezy "45 Degrees" that saw Wilson step to the forefront with a classy touch.

The set mixed old and new, with former Genauer Stangefolk staples "Roads" and "Valhalla" given new treatments, and recent compositions such as "Grand Design", an increasingly beautiful piece confidently chorused atop Wilson's retro-signature chops. Genauer earned the crowd's trust and affection throughout with his charming lyrics, toeing the line between naked honesty ("Man w/ a Plan" and "Hells Kitchen") and clever imagination ("New Real Rhythm").

The set-closing "Westerly" was a jam mammoth. Herrick and Lecesse charted the course on rhythm as Genauer seamlessly wove a different chorus ("15 Arrows") in and out of the song. The expressive leader finally gave way to Terrell and Wilson, who in an intensely spirited debate of energy lifted the song to the skies.

The Assembly of Dust can jam, but Clearwater proved that it is in its awareness of pop sensibility that the band truly finds a home, whether in Genauer's meaningful lyrics (On a cold and dreary evening he woke to find a dream; sang a song from sacred spaces, the best you've ever seen) or the cozy interplay of its sound. Its adaptability was mirrored only by the range of its crowd, where wide-eyed children shared the floor with spinning grandparents While the set felt slightly more restrained at times, it still carried a depth and liveliness that left the audience wanting even more, the work of a group of players clearly comfortable in their own skin.