Greensky Bluegrass
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Jul
25
Greensky Bluegrass @ Hoxeyville Music Festival

Cadillac, Michigan, USA

Cadillac, Michigan, USA

Jul
18
Greensky Bluegrass @ Northwest String Summit

North Plain, Oregon, USA

North Plain, Oregon, USA

Jul
03
Greensky Bluegrass @ Rothbury Music Festival

Rothbury, Michigan, USA

Rothbury, Michigan, USA

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Music

Press


Timing was right for bluegrass group
INTERMISSION: CLUBS & GIGS

ANGELA SNYDER
Tribune Staff Writer

Bring your dancing shoes. As Larry Keel says, you're in for a "true hoedown."

Bluegrass tunes will fill the air when Greensky Bluegrass (GSBG) takes the stage Wednesday at The Livery.

GSBG originated in Kalamazoo six years ago when a few young guys kept running into one another at open mic nights. Realizing their individual talents may be better utilized in a group, they collaborated and the band was born.

Mike Bont strumming the banjo, Paul Hoffman playing the mandolin, Mike Devol thumping the upright bass, and Dave Bruzza picking the guitar collectively make up GSGB.

"Instrumentation is what originally led us into bluegrass," Hoffman says. Bluegrass music's biggest draw for them, however, "is that it's acoustic, and it's more traditional South."

These talented artists, winners of the 2006 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Competition, have hit their stride at the right time.

"There's been a jump in popularity of bluegrass in the last couple of years," Hoffman says. "It's more incorporated into festivals across the country ... more eclectic festivals, such as Bonnaroo and 10,000 Lakes."

One such festival is Joshua Tree Roots Music Festival in California, at which GSBG played in October as part of their tour to promote their new album, "Tuesday Letter."

They were honored to be asked to contribute to the Joshua Tree Roots Music Festival compilation CD, of which 100 percent of the proceeds went to local fire disaster relief, and have already been added as an artist for the 2007 festival as well.

The band's playlist includes traditional, cover, purely instrumental and original songs.

GSBG present themselves as unique because "even when we write songs, they're not traditionally bluegrass," Hoffman says. He says that often the original songs are political in meaning or approach an issue, which most traditional bluegrass does not.

Influences from musicians such as Ralph Stanley, Bela Fleck and David Grissom can be heard in the music of GSBG, but all of the members had their own talent long before forming the band. Devol, for example, is a classically trained cellist.

Regardless of their talent, this band realizes that their fans are the people who have allowed them to continue to rise in the bluegrass community.

"My favorite part of the show is when people start to dance," Hoffman says. "We had a lot of positive reactions on this West Coast tour. We went to markets we didn't know and ended up with a great fan base."

They look forward to continuing to build relationships with old and new fans with a probable spring tour in the South.

The boys haven't forgotten where they came from, though. They're happy to be heading back toward their hometown these next couple of months.

They'll participate in the Berrien County Relay for Life benefit concert on Dec. 10 at the Acorn Theater in Three Oaks. All proceeds of that concert will go to the American Cancer Society/Relay for Life.

GSBG also will headline a New Year's Eve bash, sponsored by Bell's Brewery and Robinson Guitars, in their hometown of Kalamazoo.

Hoffman is extremely excited about this event because "it's the biggest thing we've ever put together in our hometown with our local fans."

GSBG are quickly climbing the popularity ladder. They've shared bills with such prominent artists as the Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller William, Ekoostik Hookah and the Sam Bush Band.

Their appreciation and gratitude toward their fans and their desire to give back to the communities they encounter make them a standout group, but their playing should make Wednesday's gig a party you won't want to miss, y'all.

Staff writer Angela Snyder:
asnyder@sbtinfo.com
(574) 235-6454






In concert

Greensky Bluegrass performs at the following dates and locations:

# 8 p.m. Wednesday at The Livery, 190 Fifth St., Benton Harbor. Admission is $8. For more information, call (269) 925-8760, or visit the Web site www.liverybrew.com.


# 7 p.m. Dec. 10 for the Berrien County Relay for Life benefit concert at the Acorn Theater, 107 N. Elm St., Three Oaks. Tickets are $13 in advance (in person) and $15 at the door or on the Web site. For ticket information call, (269) 982-1628 or (269) 612-7930, or visit the Web site www.inticketing.com.


# 7:30 p.m. Dec. 31 at Kalamazoo State Theater, 404 S. Burdick, Kalamazoo, Mich. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door. Tickets available at the State Theater Box Office (in person only) and at all Ticketmaster locations. For more information, visit the Web site www.kazoostate.com.


# For more information about GSGB go to www.greenskybluegrass.com.

- South Bend Tribune (IN)


Bluegrassers Starred At Cat

By Kathleen Riley

Stringed instruments dominated the Cat in the Cream’s Friday night of bluegrass.

Oberlin’s own The People’s Republic of Gefiltestan opened the night with a selection of their usual light-hearted bluegrass.

Their line-up was traditional for a bluegrass band, featuring senior Evan “Bear” Kittay on guitar, and sophomores Sam Harmet on the mandolin, Alex Kramer on banjo, Kirsten Lamb on bass and Kira Silver on the fiddle. Despite the playful nature of their songs (“Oh Lord, that stick came from a tree”), it was difficult not to take their instrumentation and harmonies seriously.

As there was little information available on Gefiltestan’s performance at the Cat before the show, the audience was small but clearly enjoyed themselves nonetheless. Behind this writer, two students even commented that they thought Gefiltestan was the featured band rather than the opening act.

The four unassuming members of Greensky Bluegrass opened their set with an instrumental track. Almost immediately after they began playing, the energy in the room began to spark and crackle. A few songs into the concert, half the room was dancing, and it was clear why Greensky was, in fact, the featured band.

While Michael Arlen on banjo and Mike Devol on acoustic bass provided a musical backdrop for the band’s songs, it was the two brothers, Dave Bruzza on guitar and Paul Hoffman on mandolin, who dominated the landscape. At any given time, Hoffman would launch into an impossibly fast mandolin solo, compelling the throng of dancers into a greater frenzy.

The selections from Greensky Bluegrass’s new album, Tuesday Letter, were interspersed with older songs and several traditional bluegrass numbers, including a spirited rendition of “Groundhog.” Other rousing tunes included “Bound to Ride,” “Fox on the Run,” “New Rize Hill” and “Grow Bananas.”

Greensky Bluegrass were the winners of the band competition at this year’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival and are currently embarking on a tour of the Northern Midwest and West Coast.
- The Oberlin Review (Oberlin College, OH)


The touring Michigan group, Greensky Bluegrass, plays a lot more than just your granddaddy's brand of bluegrass. Discover how far they reach when they perform at Machinery Row Thursday, June 7.

Weather permitting, the band plays outside in the club's patio area. The show starts at 8 p.m. Cover charge is $5.

Formed six years ago in Kalamazoo, Mich., Greensky Bluegrass includes Paul Hoffman on mandolin, Dave Bruzza on guitar, Michael Arlen Bont on banjo, and Mike Devol on upright bass.

Hoffman describes the group's style as "new acoustic roots" music. "We rely pretty heavily on traditional material for our repertoire and inspiration," Hoffman explained in a telephone interview, "but a lot of our original songwriting is more new-grassy, I guess. We broaden the horizons a little bit."

During typical club dates, the band offers a mix of traditional, gospel and original material. "We'll play like a Pink Floyd song and then right after that we'll play a bluegrass song about Jesus," Hoffman said, adding they also apply unique interpretations to other mainstream songs such as "When Doves Cry" from Prince and Springsteen's "Dancin' in the Dark."

"We do a lot of nonbluegrass songs in the bluegrass style," Hoffman added. "Over the years they've been varied on how abstract and how odd they are."

Hoffman also noted that the band regularly applies fresh interpretations to traditional music. "I think doing that to the bluegrass songs, it just lended well to any type of music," he mused.

The band's progressive original music reflects the diverse musical backgrounds of its members. Each started out playing music other than bluegrass, as well as learning a second instrument to play bluegrass. "I think a lot of our music is very songwriter orientated," Hoffman said, adding the band draws from a host of different styles.

Hoffman said the band's live presentation is for the most part informal, flavored with stories and anecdotes about the music. "We're not like a suit-and-tie bluegrass band," he added. "We're real casual."

Last year Greensky Bluegrass got a major career boost by winning the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Competition. The coup earned them a main stage appearance at this year's festival and lots of publicity, "It's given us a lot of exposure and credibility," Hoffman said. "There's a lot of famous musicians that have won it in the past."

The band has recorded two albums, "Less than Supper" in 2004 and "Tuesday Letter" in 2006, which was produced by Railroad Earth's Tim Carbone. Both albums are on the group's independent label, Big Blue Zoo Records, and distributed via the Homegrown Music Network.

Hoffman said his passion for bluegrass stems from its unique musical qualities. "There's a very intense energy with bluegrass because there's no drums," he said. "It's a lot of acoustic instruments working very hard to make music that's very rhythmically complex." - Great Falls Tribune (MT) June 1, 2007


Homegrown bluegrass band ready to broaden its reach
Thursday, June 1, 2006
By John Liberty


In the opinion of those involved in recording Greensky Bluegrass' second album, a lot more people are about to find out what some local people already know: The fellas are packing a distinct sound inside those sticker-covered cases they lug around everywhere.

Behind staunch support from local businesses, musicians and artists, the local bluegrass band is poised for a massive summer with a highly anticipated CD release, multiple festival stops and a pair of tours around Michigan and Colorado. Heck, even soft-spoken guitarist Dave Bruzza likes the direction they're headed with the new album, ``Tuesday Letter.''

``I think it's going to get us a lot of attention,'' he said. ``It's a very unique bluegrass album. ... We've matured as musicians, and I'm really proud of it. I think it's a good piece of work.''

Greensky Bluegrass is already scheduled to play Sunday at the Smilefest XII in Lake Toxaway, N.C., which also features national acts like Yonder Mountain String Band, Larry Keel and Keller Williams, who performed at the State Theatre April 1.

But first the band will perform at 9:30 p.m. Friday at the opening weekend of the Beer Garden at Bell's Eccentric Cafe, along with singer-songwriters Seth Bernard and Daisy May.

Although Greensky Bluegrass and Daisy May and Seth Bernard are regulars in Kalamazoo, in particular at Bell's, they have never shared a bill there, making Friday's event an intriguing show, Greensky Bluegrass mandolinist and vocalist Paul Hoffman said. Hoffman said May will most likely provide vocals on the song ``No More Fun,'' as she did for the upcoming CD, which was recorded in April and is due to be released in July.

Greensky Bluegrass recruited local sound engineers Ian Gorman and John Campos, producer Tim Carbone, and Jake Robinson, owner of Robinson Guitars, 427 1/2 E. Michigan Ave., and headed to Manistee to record the 10-track CD.

They stayed in the Robinson family cabin near the Huron-Manistee National Forest and set up shop in the massive living room.

``Cabin is not the right word. It was a fancy house,'' Gorman said.

Carbone flew in to Kalamazoo on April 1 from Jamaica, where he was performing as violinist and vocalist for the popular bluegrass band Railroad Earth. The group departed for Manistee the next day and recorded for an average of 16 hours a day over the next five days.

``I thought it was a great way to do a record,'' Gorman said. ``(Greensky Bluegrass) is really studio-savvy. I don't mean, like, they do tricks in the studio, I mean they really recognize the importance of making time to do things right. Having a group of people focusing on a record for five days is a wonderful way to do it.''

Banjo player Mike Bont said he has noticed a significant maturation since the band's 2004 debut album ``Less Than Supper.''

``Our playing has improved a whole lot as well as our songwriting,'' he said. ``We definitely have developed a distinct sound.''

Backing up the sound upgrade was financial help from Bell's owner Larry Bell, who Hoffman said has been instrumental in the band's progression in the past two years. Hoffman also credited Robinson for the one-of-a-kind sound -- like a live performance -- that the cabin lent to the album. And he noted that local artists Meegan Czop and Chris Orsolini offered their talents for the CD's art.

``The whole community is involved in a lot of ways,'' Hoffman said.

Carbone, who has produced albums since 1986, said he understands why so many local people jumped on the Greensky Bluegrass bandwagon early on -- it was for the same reason he did.

``They're a great, young bluegrass band, and they have a bright future,'' Carbone said during a phone interview from his home in Shawnee on Delaware, Pa. ``I was glad to have a part of whatever they are going to become.''

- KALAMAZOO GAZETTE


Written by Mike Bookey
Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Music isn’t much like sports. Most musicians (and I mean musicians, not reality TV singers), while always shooting to put out the best sounds they can, aren’t out to win. The same can’t be said for football players, bowlers or even NASCAR drivers.

But there are a few times in the music world when winning becomes paramount – especially if you’re talking about bluegrass, which for whatever reason, is a style conducive to competition. For bluegrass pickers, the competition at the Telluride Bluegrass festival is pretty much the World Series of acoustic music contests – except it’s held at about 9,000 feet above sea level and often more competitive. No offense to the Colorado Rockies on either score.

An all-acoustic quartet out of Kalamazoo, Michigan known appropriately as Greensky Bluegrass, took top honors at the festival’s band competition last year and have been riding the wave of victory across the nation since.

“It was a pretty big deal. I don’t want to say I was surprised, because it makes it sound like I think we didn’t deserve it,” says Paul Hoffman, Greensky’s lead singer and mandolin player as the band gears up for an appearance at Las Tortugas, a festival in Yosemite featuring other roots music mainstays like New Monsoon and ALO.

“It’s helped us meet a lot of people and brought a lot of attention our way from people in the bluegrass world,” Hoffman says.

Since Greensky’s win at Telluride, the band has ratcheted up its tour schedule and will have played more than 200 shows by the end of the year. Hoffman says the band draws in fans wherever they play, but have the biggest draws in towns with already bustling bluegrass scenes, like Asheville, N.C., or Boulder, Colo.

“With bluegrass or acoustic music, there’s a built in group of people that like that style, so they’re willing to check it out, no matter what,” Hoffman says.

With Greensky coming to town, maybe this is good a time as ever to evaluate Bend’s appetite for bluegrass. Let’s see, we have a couple quick pickin’ local outfits in Moon Mountain Ramblers and Blackstrap; bluegrass hotshots Yonder Mountain String Band packed the Midtown last spring; and last summer also saw the emergence of festivals like High and Dry Bluegrass, and the b’grass-heavy 4 Peaks fest. All in all, I would give us a “B+” in Bluegrass Appreciation 101.

In Greensky’s hometown of Kalamazoo, fans have earned an “A” thanks to the local pickers’ tutelage. While Greensky can draw up to a couple hundred fans in some spots around the country, they brought almost 1,500 revelers to their theater-sized show in Kalamazoo on New Year’s Eve last year. It’s no surprise that the band is playing the same place, on the same night this year.

“We had friends who are in their 40s come up to us and say that it was the best New Year’s of their lives,” Hoffman says.

To someone like, say, I don’t know … a Kid Rock fan, a night of bluegrass might not seem like the best way to bring in a fresh year, but that’s probably because that dude has never seen live bluegrass. While there’s usually no drummer and little amplification, bluegrass can get a crowd swaying, jumping, and bobbing in the style’s patented twangy dance style.

You can see this dance move in person Friday night at Silver Moon Brewing and also try to help bump that B+ up into the A- range.
- The Source - Bend, OR


Greensky Bluegrass takes first place at Telluride

Michigan’s Greensky Bluegrass took first place at last weekend’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado. A last-minute addition to the band contest, Greensky Bluegrass came out on top against 8 other bands, and as they note on their bulletin board, with only three hours of sleep!

The prize includes a cash award of $750, but even more valuable is the opportunity to perform at the main stage during next year’s festival.

Their latest CD, Tuesday Letter, is due for a July release on their private Big Blue Zoo label. It was produced by Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth. Some audio samples are available on the band’s web site. They also have audio on their MySpace page, and several live shows are available for download from archive.org.

Both Greensky Bluegrass and the Telluride Fest draw influences from what has come to be called the acoustic “jam band” scene, and the band represents their music as “jamgrass.” This growing genre might be described as being informed by traditional string band and bluegrass music, and performed on the instruments long associated with those formats, but intentionally breaking from the song structure and both harmonic and lyrical themes that define those styles.

Greensky Bluegrass includes Michael Arlen Bont on banjo, Dave Bruzza on guitar, Michael Devol on upright bass, and Paul Hoffman on mandolin.

We offer our congratulations on bringing home this prestigious award.
- www.thebluegrassblog.org


-Greensky Bluegrass had all the warmth and chops of better known string acts like Hot Buttered Rum and Chatham County Line but managed to differentiate themselves with their choice of material, seamless transitions and nicely melancholy originals. Greensky was able take covers as diverse as Prince's "When Doves Cry" and Pink Floyd's "Time" and remove any jokiness, diving down to the heart of the tunes to mine all the heartache and pathos. The looks of steely determination on their faces, especially when the changes came fast and furious, spoke of men dedicated to their craft. And it's always a good sign when violinist Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth likes a band well enough to guest on their records, as he does on Greensky's latest, Tuesday Letter. - Dennis Cook


On 'the verge'
Published on August 17, 2006


By Dickson Mercer
News-Post Staff

Bluegrass is sprawling countryside, snow-capped mountains and sparkling rivers. Life in the country. The real country. Right?

Not exactly for Greensky Bluegrass, according to mandolinist Paul Hoffman.

The four-piece band, after all, was founded in Kalamazoo, Mich. Mountains and rivers, he said, "is not something we really experienced."

OK, fine. But what about the making of "Tuesday Letter"? Didn't the sophomore effort take place over the course of a week spent inside a log cabin in Michigan's Manistee National Forest on the banks of the Pine River? Isn't the 27-second track, "River," nothing more than the sound of a crackling campfire? ("We felt natural and comfortable," Hoffman said, "and we wanted to include our surroundings in the recording.")

Maybe Hoffman speaks of the following track, "Bottle Dry," a harmony-driven, delicate, slow-burner in which Greensky chronicles a page from the road. Or "Broken Highways," which has a similar feel.

Perhaps.

But what Hoffman mainly seems to be addressing is the title track, "Tuesday Letter," in which this four-piece ensemble effectively captures something more personal -- something more along the lines of Zen.

In the first verse, Hoffman sings:

"To see the world in a grain of sand

To find god in a wildflower

Hold forever in the palm of your hand

And eternity inside of an hour"

He had found the words in a Blake poem, which he had read out of context. After he discovered the original source he switched the words around.

Greensky represents a fusion. Bluegrass at the core, the music also incorporates strains of rock and pop, which occasionally percolates inside atmospheric tones. The band leans towards traditional bluegrass, Hoffman said, but also has a tendency to spark up some reggae or a Grateful Dead number or Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark."

And while the divide in bluegrass widens between experimental and traditional modes, Greensky might be the rare band that's truly willing to toe the line. Five years after forming, it now rests on what a hip music magazine like Relix refers to as "the verge."

Greensky took top prize in June's Telluride Band Contest, part of the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Over the course of two rounds, bands are judged on material selection, instrumental performance, vocal performance, and stage presence.

"It makes you accredited," Hoffman said. "It's something to put on your resume."

Two years prior, Greensky had arrived at the contest with less experience, less material. This year the four-piece outfit carried the confidence of "Tuesday Letter," and a lineup that jelled upon the addition of bassist Michael Devol Bont, which has enabled the group to tour nationally.

The outfit had booked a tour in Colorado for the express purpose of rolling the dice once more at Telluride. But the event was full. And the band was not sure if they would be allowed to compete.

Greensky was allowed, of course, although they only managed to get a few hours of sleep the night before taking the stage.

"We were just doing our thing," Hoffman said. "We felt good."

Greensky's "thing," as it happens, pairs a traditional sense of instrumentation with a modern sense of songwriting. Complicating matters a bit, bandmembers openly endorse their preference for an old-time and acoustic sound, yet seem to click, on a personal level, with bands of the avant garde, particularly Railroad Earth.

"Tuesday Letter," coincidentally, was produced with the help of Railroad Earth multi-instrumentalist Tim Carbone.

"He has a similar perspective on music. He understood what we were trying to present ... "The first (album) was a project. 'Tuesday Letter' is an accurate measure of where we are," Hoffman said.

Members of Greensky had met Carbone at Blissfest. Shortly after, Carbone invited Greensky to play at Railroad Earth's festival held in Stillwater, N.J.

Describing Greensky as "kindred souls," Carbone writes on the album jacket, "The massive pine beams of the cabin ... the wind howling from a spring snow squall ... the bonfire we warmed ourselves around after days filled with so much music we were full up. And the river. Ever flowing and always singing."

More importantly, he notes, "Every great album starts with great songs," which were penned by Hoffman in this case, as well as Michael Arlen Bont (banjo) and Dave Bruzza (guitar and percussion).

The opening track, "Grow Bananas," takes on themes of grassroots politics. "Hoxeyville," an instrumental, is as rootsy as it gets, while "Radio Blues" might evoke the father of the genre himself.

"Tied Down," the final track (before the secret track), an ode to Michigan, could be suggestive of the band's direction -- literally.

While Michigan hosts a few bluegrass bands and a decent acoustic music scene, and Kalamazoo and Bell's Brewing Company have - Frederick News-Post (MD)



Bluegrass quartet, business owners join forces for New Year's Eve concert
Thursday, December 28, 2006
By John Liberty
jliberty@kalamazoogazette.com 388-8579

It's been a long time comin'.

Essentially that's the sentiment shared by the many parties involved in making a New Year's Eve concert featuring three Michigan bands happen at the State Theatre.

Kalamazoo bluegrass quartet Greensky Bluegrass will headline the holiday concert at the venue that many musicians, like Greensky guitarist Dave Bruzza, ogled as teenagers.
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``I'm from Kalamazoo, and I've been seeing shows at the State since I was a kid,'' Bruzza said. ``I've seen Bob Dylan, The Band and endless midnight movies there. This is probably going to be the best experience of the entire year. For me, personally, this is the best way to end the year. Last year (on New Year's Eve), we played in West Virginia, but this is unbelievable -- that you can share this with your core crowd and that they're staying in town for it. I could go on and on.''

The locally funded, locally headlined and locally held concert will be happening thanks to the persistent efforts of the band, particularly mandolinist Paul Hoffman, and financial backing from Bell's Brewing Co. owner Larry Bell and local guitar maker Jake Robinson, who owns Robinson Guitars. Bell and Robinson provided the cash, and Hoffman and company have been doing a lot of the legwork, including promotions and advertising.

Robinson and Hoffman kicked around the notion of throwing their own New Year's Eve party at the State during the summer. They took the initiative and presented the idea to the State.

``I give the band credit on this,'' State Theatre production manager Curt Pruett said. ``This is very unique. ... This is really creative. It's really nice of them (Bell and Robinson) to step up and support the band to move onto a larger stage. We (the State) had very little to do with it.''

It's been four years since the local music showcase Kalapalooza grabbed the spotlight there and five years since The Verve Pipe played the State on Thanksgiving.

``Let's be honest, it's been years since The Verve Pipe or Kalapalooza has happened,'' Pruett said. ``This is a great chance to showcase local and regional talent.''

It has been estimated that the concert audience on New Year's Eve will range from 500 to 1,300, depending on whom you ask. Pruett estimated that 300 tickets had been sold as of 6 p.m. Tuesday.

One advantage the show has is that the openers -- Lansing's Steppin' In It and Lake City's Daisy May & Seth Bernard -- boast strong followings here as well as on their own turf. Plus, Bell's Eccentric Cafe, the local venue where the three groups play most frequently, will be closed, so the Bell's crowd seems ripe for the, eh, pickin'.

``There's a lot of fancy things you can do on New Year's Eve, but not everyone wants to wear a tuxedo,'' said Larry Bell, whose beer will be available at the concert. ``Some people want to dance and carouse. What better band to do that to than these guys?''

Robinson, who also organizes the annual Hoxeyville Music Festival each summer near Cadillac, said he wants to create a performance pipeline at the State for some of the artists with whom he has established a relationship over the years.

``Personally, it's something I've been interested in doing for some time,'' Robinson said. ``We've all kind of wanted to test the waters a little bit. If it works, I'll think you'll see more of it.''

Ticket stub

New Year's Eve concert featuring Greensky Bluegrass, local bluegrass quartet, with Lansing's Steppin' In It and Lake City's Daisy May & Seth Bernard as openers, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. $18 in advance, $20 on the day of the show. Tickets are available at the box office or through Ticketmaster, at 373-7000 or www.ticketmaster.com.
- Kalamazoo Gazette


Bluegrass locks down headliners

Published: Sunday, March 4, 2007 7:08 PM CST
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Planet Bluegrass also donates $10K to Valley Floor

By Katie Klingsporn

The slots are almost filled, the schedule is solidifying and things are looking pretty promising for the 2007 Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

The festival has locked down all its headliners with the recent confirmation of Counting Crows, who will join Los Lobos, New Orleans Social Club and Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas as the acts that close each long day of music in Town Park.

“It should be a really great year,” said Brian Eyster, director of communications for Planet Bluegrass. “The word I keep hearing is that people are really excited about the line-up.”

The line-up for the four-day festival, which is slotted for June 21-24, will feature the usual bluegrass veterans like Sam Bush, Peter Rowan and Tony Rice as well as up-and-coming acts like Crooked Still and the Avett Brothers. And, in typical fashion, the festival features those whose music does not fit in the genre of bluegrass, such as Guster and Augie March.

The festival kicks off on June 21 with a solo performance by Chris Thile, and thus ensue four long, golden days of music, food and festivarians in the park.

As usual, the festival is bringing big names to these big mountains. Among them are Emmylou Harris, John Starling, Carolina Star, B/la Fleck, Chick Corea, Darol Angor, Edgar Meyer, Tony Rice and Jerry Douglas.

It will be the first time for Counting Crows, Los Lobos and The New Orleans Social Club to headline at the festival, and Eyster said the prospects are exciting.

Counting Crows, he said, are only scheduled to play one other event all summer, the New Orleans Jazz Celebration.

“They definitely are a band that are in the moment,” he said. “I think they could put on a historic show really.”

Other acts that are starting to bust out on the scene include the Infamous Stringdusters, Greensky Bluegrass and the Sparrow Quartet.

And Telluride favorites like Yonder Mountain String Band, The Jerry Douglas Band and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones will round out the performances.

And then there will be the collaborations, spontaneous or not, that inevitably erupt on the stage during the festival. One that Eyster expects to be incredible is a performance by Tony Rice with Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas.

This tremendously talented group will be performing a spectrum of material from Rice’s long and storied career.

This performance “is going to be really special,” Eyster said.

Discount locals’ tickets will be on sale through the month of March at Telluride Music Company and Wizard Entertainment. Four-day passes are $160 ($15 discount), and locals must prove their residence and are limited to two tickets per person.

Eyster said ticket sales are roughly 20 percent ahead of last year’s, and people shouldn’t wait to snatch some up.

“People should definitely not plan on buying them at the festival,” he said.

In other news, the Bluegrass Festival is donating $10,000 to the town’s effort to buy the $50 million Valley Floor. The land, Eyster said, is a vital part of the community that Planet Bluegrass wants to support.

“We just think it’s important for the community and the character of Telluride,” he said. “We want to do our part to preserve that.” - Telluride Daily Planet Telluride, CO


Discography

Less Than Supper- (2004)- In rotation at several radio stations in MI, MD,KY,WV, and NC.
GSBG has been a featured artist on indiehighway.com, bluegrasscountry.org and many more online outlets. Also streaming at myspace.com/greenskybluegrassmusic

GSBG's 2nd album, "Tuesday Letter", produced by Tim Carbone, the violinist from Railroad Earth, is available through the bands website www.greenskybluegrass.com, CDbaby, and iTunes Music Store.

Check out www.archive.org for free live downloads/streaming audio of GSBG.

Photos

Bio

Winners of the 2006 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Competition, Michigan’s own Greensky Bluegrass is earning recognition nationwide as a growing force in acoustic roots music. Performing at festivals, theaters, clubs and listening rooms all over the US, their rare traditional sound is piquing the interests of not only bluegrass enthusiasts, but lovers of music of all genres. It is their unique “fusion of tradition and enthusiasm for improvisation” that has come to define the band’s creative and tangible compositional style.

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. This voice first became evident in their May 2004 release of Less than Supper, recorded with bassist Chris Carr and dobro player Al Bates. In the fall of the same year, Greensky Bluegrass welcomed bassist Michael Devol, and in the summer of 2006 released their second studio album, Tuesday Letter. This album, produced by Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth, has proven a milestone in the quartet’s growth as musicians and increasing exposure to a thriving national community.

"...every great album starts with great songs and this record is no exception. Songs of hope, truth, loss, and love of family and friends are all here. Songs that will make you laugh, dance and think. And songs of grace." -Tim Carbone

Live performance is central to Greensky Bluegrass’ presence in today’s eclectic acoustic scene. Touring extensively since 2005, Greensky has developed great versatility in the performance arena, earning audiences nationwide, from all walks of life. The mixing of original compositions with traditional bluegrass numbers gives the band a broad spectrum in which to display their driving technical chops, vocal abilities, and lyrical insight. A spirit of improvisation remains evident in live shows, which contributes to an ever-growing population of returning fans and avid show traders. On-stage collaborations have paired the boys with Railroad Earth, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, and Steppin’ in It. The band has also shared bills with influential acts including Ralph Stanley, Peter Rowan and Tony Rice Quartet, Yonder Mountain String Band, Sam Bush Band, New Monsoon, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Keller Williams, Hot Buttered Rum, Vince Herman, The Mammals, The Hackensaw Boys, The Avett Brothers, Darrell Scott, King Wilkie, David Grisman Quintet and more.

The band recorded material for their first live album on June 1 and August 2 of this year at their home venue of Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan and anticipate its release during the late fall. Listeners can look forward to a live experience that Larry Keel has referred to as “a true hoedown… Kalamazoo style”.