At the final day of this weekend’s Electric Forest festival in Rothbury, Michigan; String Cheese Incident welcomed Greensky Bluegrass to jam with them on the main stage for a three-song segment. All of Greensky emerged five songs into SCI’s first set for a segment that started with a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Atlantic City that was more faithful to The Band’s version than The Boss’s.
Atlantic City is a staple of Greensky Bluegrass’s live shows, so it should come as no surprise they led SCI through the cover with mandolin player Paul Hoffman handling the lead vocals. A video of the cover has recently surfaced on YouTube…
Back in December Cloud 9 Adventures brought together Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters and Leftover Salmon for the first annual Strings & Sol destination music festival, which was held at Dreams Tulum Resort and Spa in Tulum, Mexico. Cloud 9 has just announced the second installment of Strings & Sol with a few of the same bands and a few different acts.
The four-day Strings & Solo 2013 brings Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, Greensky Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon and Keller Williams and the Travelin’ McCourys to the Now Sapphire Resort in Puerto Morelos, Mexico from December 11 – 15. Yonder will play a total of three performances with RRE and LoS signed up for one closing show and one additional performance. Keller Williams with The Travelin’ McCourys and Greensky Bluegrass are set to perform twice a piece.
All-inclusive packages go on sale to the general public beginning April 17 at noon ET at www.stringsandsol.com. Those who attended the inaugural event will be able to take part in a pre-sale on April 16.
Jamgrass faves Railroad Earth will pair up with New Orleans funk band Galactic and Michigan bluegrass act Greensky Bluegrass for a triple bill at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre on July 12th. While Railroad Earth and Galactic have performed at the scenic venue in the past, July 12th will mark Greensky Bluegrass’s Red Rocks debut.
Galactic will play Boulder’s Fox Theater on July 11th, while Railroad Earth will perform at the Boulder Theater on the 13th. Tickets for Red Rocks go on sale this Saturday, Feb. 23rd at 10AM MST.
On Wednesday Greensky Bluegrass celebrated Hallowen with their second annual Totally Bitchin’ ’80s Dance Party at The Independent in San Francisco. The jamgrass faves delivered one ’80s cover after another for two sets. Thanks to FakeTaper we get to check out a number of those covers.
Included among those covers was Driven To Tears by The Police. You wouldn’t think such a heavy tune would translate to dobro, mando, banjo and the like, but Greensky Bluegrass crushed it…
Three of our favorite bands celebrated Halloween in their own ways last night. As we wipe the cobwebs from our eyes, we wanted to start the day by sharing the basics on each performance.
Umphrey’s celebrated Halloween at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland where the second set was an “All Night Wrong” affair in which fans voted on which covers the band would play. After a first set of originals, the second set started with the dream sequence of the Grateful Dead’s Help On The Way > Slipknot! > the Allman Brothers Band’s Jessica. Both Girlfriend Is Better (Talking Heads) and Fool In The Rain (Led Zeppelin) contained hearty jams before leading into a bit of the the theme to Halloween (the movie). Kris Myers handled vocals for covers of Forty Six and 2 by Tool and Yes’s Roundabout before UM debuted their take on Money For Nothing by Dire Straits. The sextet finished the set with their classic Another Brick In The Wall/Thriller mashup and kept the fan-voted antics going into the encore by performing Ophelia by The Band.
 with Halloween theme (John Carpenter) teases
 debut, Dire Straits
The band played with masks (“The Mostly Dead Ex Presidents, A Vice President, and a First Lady”): Brendan was Bill Clinton, Jake was Ronald Reagan, Joel was Dick Cheney, Kris was Richard Nixon, Andy was Barack Obama, and Ryan was Hillary Clinton. The second set was an All Night Wrong performance, comprised entirely of fan voted cover songs. With Jessica tease before Girlfriend Is Better.
Greensky Bluegrass @ Bell’s Brewery – September 25
Even though it was Kol Nidre – the evening of the Jewish High Holiday of Yom Kippur and to many the holiest occasion on the Jewish calendar – I drove across Michigan to show support for a music community that has become another part of my huge extended music family. Less than two weeks prior, I had gotten word via Facebook that Greensky Bluegrass would be throwing a benefit show for their close friend Janice Farrell who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. No stranger to benefit shows, Greensky had just performed a few days earlier at the Bluegrass for Babies benefit in Cincinnati. But this night was clearly far more personal for the members of Camp Greensky. Holding a benefit concert with less than two weeks notice is no small feat, but the community that rallied (and continues to) around Janice and the Farrell family was impressive, to say the least.
[Photos by Andrew Bender of Greensky @ Bell's in February]
Normally, Greensky’s hometown shows at Bell’s Brewery are incredible parties of family, fans, friends and beer. In contrast, Tuesday night’s show at Bell’s Back Room was by far the most sober-toned Greensky show I’ve seen or heard. As Janice watched from home via webcast, the band played two sets of her favorite Greensky originals and covers. Mandolin player and vocalist Paul Hoffman noted in some amusement that Janice’s song list included mostly Greensky tunes penned or sung by guitarist Dave Bruzza.
Originals ranged the band’s own songbook from older songs like Roberta and Grow Bananas to newer favorites like Demons, Kerosene and the improv vehicle Don’t Lie. But truthfully, the show featured more covers than originals, including traditional bluegrass songs like Pig in a Pen, Shady Grove and Steam Powered Aeroplane as well as newgrass hits like show opener Climbing Up a Mountain by Tim O’Brien and Newgrass Revival’s Can’t Stop Now. And of course, true to Greensky there were plenty of psychedelic, folk, and pop covers like Pink Floyd’s Time, Springsteen’s Atlantic City, Talking Heads’ Road to Nowhere, Prince’s When Doves Cry, and an insane Grateful Deadwich that led from a Birdsong tease into Cassidy > Cryptical Envelopment > The Other One > Cassidy.
Todd Sheaffer’s short three-show run with HT faves Greensky Bluegrass came to an end last night at Sullivan Hall in NYC, where the Railroad Earth front man joined the Michigan-based band at the end of their first set for three songs – Tom Waits’ Cold Water, The Hobo Song by Old & In The Way and Railroad Earth’s Long Way To Go.
As with the first two nights of the mini-tour, last night’s show started off with a somewhat rare solo acoustic set from Sheaffer. Todd played the role of storyteller, giving the crowd background on nearly every tune. Of particular note was the story behind the From Good Homes classic Way To Go Pam, which Sheaffer explained was about a friend named Pam from his New York City days who disappeared without a trace until he received a postcard from New Guinea that was sent by her.
Greensky Bluegrass played two sensational sets for their biggest NYC crowd yet and showed why they continue to build their audience with each tour. Not only were their originals fantastic, but GB adds such an inventive twist to covers. Yesterday they tackled Pig In A Pen, Traffic’s Light Up and Leave Me Alone and China > Rider, among others. The group recently brought a light designer on the road and he’s already paying huge dividends, giving their sets more of a “rock show” feel. The five-piece ensemble continues their lengthy tour, sans Sheaffer, tonight at the Middle East in Boston.
Greensky Bluegrass @ Majestic Theater, December 30 & 31
On December 30 and 31, Michigan’s Greensky Bluegrass celebrated New Year’s at the Majestic Theater in Detroit. Although Greensky is still considered an up-and-coming act, this was no local party for friends and family. Rather, Greensky managed to turn Detroit into a destination for NYE 2011-2012 as fans had traveled from far and wide – even internationally – to ring in the New Year with a band whose gift for psychedelic improvisation and timeless originals is rivaled only by their reputation for throwing one helluva party.
[All Photos by Andrew Bender]
Opening both nights were The Macpodz out of neighboring Ann Arbor; and as in prior opening performances for Umphrey’s McGee and moe., they showed an amazing ability to kick off the party. Combining aspects of funk, jazz, rock, disco and various forms of infectious musical weirdness, the Macpodz eschew the usual guitar-driven jams for the danceable orchestration of keys and trumpet, percussion and bass.
Our appreciation for Michigan natives and the latest in a growing class of HT faves, Greensky Bluegrass, continues to grow. Last night at the Fox in Boulder, Greensky threw down an ’80s themed Halloween show that featured a slew of covers from the Reagan Era. Among the choice tunes given a bluegrass spin by the band were The Theme to Ghostbusters, When Doves Cry, Who Can It Be Now? and Thriller. They even tackled Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top and Bruce Springsteen’s Atlantic City over the course of two lengthy sets.
This “Totally Bitchin’ ’80s Party” didn’t just stick to the decade’s biggest hits. GB also performed West LA Fadeaway by The Dead, Eddie Rabbit’s Driving My Life Away and Young Turks by Rod Stewart. According to dobro player Anders Beck, “The idea started with a bunch of 80s covers or maybe a set full. As we started rehearsing, it became pretty clear that we should just bust out a whole show of 80s tunes without announcing anything more than it being just an ’80s theme.”
Here’s the complete setlist:
Set 1: Thriller (Micheal Jackson) > Beat It (Michael Jackson), Hungry Like A Wolf (Duran Duran), Bust A Move (Young MC) > Break Mountain Brokedown (Greensky) > West LA Fadeaway (Grateful Dead), Sharp Dressed Man ( ZZ Top), When Doves Cry (Prince), Ghostbusters (Ray Parker Jr.) > New Rize Hill (Greensky) > Can’t Stop Now (New Grass Revival)
Set 2: Eye Of The Tiger (Survivor), Young Turks (Rod Stewart), Little Red Corvette (Prince) > Shuckin’ The Corn (Traditional) > Little Red Corvette (Prince), Atlantic City (Bruce Springsteen), Who Can It Be Now (Men At Work), Driving My Life Away (Eddie Rabbit), Tarpology (Greensky) > One Slip (Pink Floyd) > Tarpology (Greensky)
Encore 1: Every Rose Has Its Thorn (Poison)
While we wait for a recording to surface, check out a teaser of Eye of the Tiger… READ ON
One of the bands who impressed me most back in January on Jam Cruise 9 was none other than Michigan’s Greensky Bluegrass. This motley five-piece has been honing their original mix of rock and bluegrass with soul by playing over 160 shows in each of the past six years.
On October 4, Greensky Bluegrass will release Handguns, their self-produced fourth studio album, which was recorded in a studio filled with vintage equipment including the actual analog console Lynyrd Skynyrd used to track Free Bird in 1973. Luckily we don’t have to wait the whole two months for a taste of Handguns as the band has shared a free five-track EP featuring tunes from the new album on their website. Over the next few months GB will hit nearly every nook and cranny of the country, so if you like what you hear be sure to check them out when they come to your town.
We fell in love with Greensky Bluegrass back on Jam Cruise 9 thanks to the group’s mix of roots and rock, so we’re excited to see that the band will make their Bonnaroo debut today at 4PM at The On Tap Lounge. You can always count on Greensky for interesting cover choice such as this take on Road To Nowhere by the Talking Heads…
The Hoxeyville Music Festival returns to the scenic Manistee National Forest in Wellston, MI on August 19-21 boasting a lineup that features HT faves Umphrey’s McGee, Greensky Bluegrass and Dumpstaphunk.
Hoxeyville is one of the more family friendly fests out there and also one of the fests most geared towards comfort. Promoters keep the capacity low and an adjacent modern campground offers amenities such as a swimming pool, showers, wireless internet and plug-ins. There’s also a disc golf course set up along with activities like canoeing, fishing and mountain biking.
Along with the headliners mentioned above, The Macpodz, Ekoostik Hookah, Breathe Owl Breathe, The Ragbirds, Seth Bernard & May Erlewine, Steppin’ In It and Funktion are also on the bill with promoters promising more acts to be announced in the coming months. Tickets and further details are available at hoxeyville.com.
Cornmeal, Greensky Bluegrass & USPS @ Sullivan Hall, February 10
Words: Bob Frank Photos: Rob Chapman
Get on the bus > take the train > catch the plane, your flight is boarding. During the second stop of the five-night SkyMeal tour at NYC’s Sullivan Hall, Cornmeal delivered and took its passengers to new heights. Destination unknown, everyone from the audience celebrated, danced and spun to a ripping Thursday evening of intense progressive bluegrass and roots music.
Setting the mood early at 8:45PM with intertwined accurate harmonies, timely riffs and a June Carter reminiscent attitude; Union Street Preservation Society played to the knee-buckling, swaying, attentive crowd. On mandolin and vocals, Sara Bouchard traded licks with Alex Borsody on his open-tuned round neck dobro, while Jason Bertone laid down a generous vibe on upright bass. The young and talented Harrison Hollingsworth carried the fiddle responsibilities with a command Vassar Clements would be proud of. David Leiberman sang with a unique voice and magnetic personality that kept the energy of the evening soaring. The youthful, eager quintet impressed the crowd as they filtered in for a major dose of pickin’ and grinning.
Cleverly paired on a five-night tour with Cornmeal, Greensky Bluegrass fell right in place with their second selection, Stop That Train. There was no stopping the uptown express intensity from reaching its arrival. The quintet from Michigan, led by Paul Hoffman on lead vocals and mandolin, created a sound scape all its own, veering sideways off the traditional expectations.
Now that’s it’s been just about a month since Jam Cruise 9 returned to land, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on all the music I witnessed. While I was familiar with most of the bands aboard the MSC Poesia, there were a number of acts who were new to me. For this week’s B List, I made a list of the 10 bands I hadn’t seen live before the trip who impressed me the most.
Yes, it’s ridiculous that I hadn’t seen a few of these bands, but now that I have, I won’t miss them again the next time they come around.
Colorado’s Big Gigantic features drummer Jeremy Salken and producer/saxophonist Dominic Lalli coming together to forge an inventive sound that’s equal parts electronic and rock. You can’t help but dance to the ridiculously high-energy beats and grooves the pair provides. BG’s Zebra Bar set was otherworldly, not only for the work of Salken and Lalli, but also for sit-ins by the likes of Brock Butler, Eric Krasno and Joel Cummins.
New York City gets a rare treat on February 10th, when two of nation’s finest jamgrass bands meet up with a local upstart for a killer triple bill. Two of the bands who impressed me most on Jam Cruise – Greensky Bluegrass and Cornmeal – are teaming up with Brooklyn string band the Union Street Preservation Society at Sullivan Hall and you should almost feel guilty paying only $10 for what should be over five hours of music.
Tickets are currently available through TicketWeb.
Here’s a quick look at six other stories of interest…
The presenters of this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which takes place at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria on March 14th, have been revealed. Neil Young, Elton John, Paul Simon, Bette Midler and John Legend will help induct the new HOFs including Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, Darlene Love, Tom Waits and Leon Russell. No word yet on who will induct who, but we’d guess Elton will introduce Leon Russell.