Telluride Bluegrass Festival Winners GREENSKY BLUEGRASS play Parrot
2006 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Winners GREENSKY BLUEGRASS to play Parrot
Infusing tradition with an enthusiasm for improvisation, Greensky Bluegrass will appear at The Green Parrot Formed in the fall of 2000 by Michael Arlen Bont (banjo), Dave Bruzza (guitar), and Paul Hoffman (mandolin), Greensky has undergone a musical evolution as unique as the music it has produced. As newcomers to the bluegrass scene, the three sought to define themselves within the framework of their bluegrass favorites while establishing a voice of their own, drawing upon an array of influences and varied musical backgrounds. In the early summer of 2006 the band were winners of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Competition , earning them a spot on the main stage of the 2007 festival. Soon thereafter they released their second studio album, Tuesday Letter. This project, produced by Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth, has proven a milestone in the quartet’s growth as musicians and increasing exposure to a national community
GREENSKY BLUEGRASS is one of the most exciting bands in today’s music scene. Like a breath of fresh air, this five piece band plays traditional bluegrass instruments and uses them to create original songs and soundscapes that are unique and new, yet somehow feel comfortable and familiar. Though they have been likened to ‘70s era Americana acts like The Band, Greensky would prefer not to be compared to any other bands. “We really just try to make music as a group that sounds and feels right to us”, says mandolin player Paul Hoffman, later adding that “it is nice to know that other people really dig it, too.”
“Greensky Bluegrass hits timeless targets with deadly accuracy while simultaneously veering off the tired and true highway.”-Jambase.com
While “green sky” is the opposite of “blue grass“, the band insists that the name came about as more of a pun than a statement about their music. “Along with the tradition of bluegrass, we all have lots of different musical influences that we bring to the table”, says guitar player Dave Bruzza, “and we somehow wanted to reflect that in our name.” Upon witnessing the band’s live shows, this statement seems to make a little more sense. On any given night, in addition to the myriad of excellent original songs, one might hear traditional bluegrass songs with an exploratory rock and roll jam or selections from the Talking Heads, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead or Bob Marley turned bluegrass. “We are as likely to play a three minute song as we are a ten minute song on any given night”, says dobro player Anders Beck, “and I think that keeps it exciting for the audience”. Perhaps this is the reason that Greensky Bluegrass is as equally embraced by the jam-band community as it is the bluegrass/Americana community and the band’s fan base is growing so rapidly.
“Of course, this is bluegrass. So manic chops mean a lot to Greensky Bluegrass. Yet they are also masterful storytellers. Mandolinist Paul Hoffman in particular pens some true rural balladry.” -Seattle Weekly
Greensky Bluegrass is touring in support of their recently released fourth album, “Five Interstates”, which was produced by Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth. The album, their strongest to date, features twelve original tracks and one traditional bluegrass song (a nod to the deceased King of Bluegrass, Jimmy Martin) ,and showcases the band’s songwriting and playing talents in a way that is incredibly accessible to fans of many different types of music. Carbone notes on the package: “Five Interstates came together like five lives intertwined, the intersection of a lifetime frozen in precious time and preserved in a digital tableau. I’m blessed…We’re all blessed to be witness to a band ascending as true as an arrow shot to the sky.”
Since winning the 2006 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Contest, Greensky has been touring constantly, playing over 170 shows a year, and all the hard work is certainly paying off. Recent highlights are too many to list, but include selling out venues in many parts of the country, sharing the stage with musical heroes, getting asked to play shows with the likes of Tony Rice and Peter Rowan, Sam Bush, Yonder Mountain String Band and Railroad Earth, and being asked to play the inaugural Rothbury Festival in their home state of Michigan. “It certainly felt like an affirmation that we are doing something right”, noted bass player Mike Devol.
Greensky Bluegrass is Anders Beck (dobro), Michael Arlen Bont (banjo), Dave Bruzza (guitar), Mike Devol (upright bass) and Paul Hoffman (mandolin).