As their name might suggest, Greensky Bluegrass utilizes traditional bluegrass instruments – dobro, banjo, guitar, upright bass and mandolin. However, the music that they make is anything but reversionary and the new album, Handguns
is a brave expression of what separates their original music from the rest of the bluegrass genre.
Handguns was recorded in between tours this winter as the band holed up in a studio in their home state of Michigan, committing the songs straight-to-tape on the exact recording console that originally birthed Lynyrd Skynyrd’s infamous track "Free Bird” decades earlier. Matching the warmth of the analog sound, vintage microphones were utilized alongside state-of-the-art studio equipment to create a truly blended and artful sonic experience.
Greensky has continued to gain national momentum since they won the Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s coveted Band Competition in 2006 and have been invited to play at last summer’s Northwest String Summit, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival and NPR’s Mountain Stage, while also playing at Bonnaroo, Bumbershoot and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. As these diverse festivals would suggest, they’re a bluegrass band but they’re not. Bluegrass doesn’t have distortion, or horns for that matter. Greensky does.
Of course, none of this happened overnight or without sacrifice. Greensky is just as much a grit of the asphalt band as they are a salt of the earth band, having played over 160 shows nationwide, every year, for the last six years. It was by winning over folks on the band’s never-ending tour that got them where they are today – not by a label, syndicated radio play or being on the shelves at big box stores.
As a bonus for all, Greensky Bluegrass is giving away half of Handguns for free. This five-song Handguns EP is available on the Greensky Bluegrass website for anyone who wants to listen.
The motive? To be heard. For musicians, the model has changed with satellite radio where the F word flies free and name-your-own-price record releases. One thing remains true, however: when the music is great, people will listen.
Greensky Bluegrass is Anders Beck (dobro), Michael Arlen Bont (banjo), Dave Bruzza (guitar), Mike Devol (upright bass) and Paul Hoffman (mandolin).