By Mary Ought Six
Photos by Monishka Grant
Kalamazoo “newgrass” pioneers Greensky Bluegrass took over NYC’s Highline Ballroom this past Friday the 13th, bringing in quite the hoard of foot stompin’ fans who brought their own version of a collective smoke machine. Needless to say, a good time was had by all.
HIGH TIMES managed to help green up the green room before Greensky had to get onstage. Amongst the jolly, strumming gentlemen, it was clear they were used to tuning up and tuning in before countless sets (founded in 2000, Greensky tours around half the year). We asked band originator Dave Bruzza, “So, do you have anything to say about marijuana?”
He responded with a very pro-pot chuckle, spliff in hand, “What don’t I have to say about marijuana?” before passing the goods to the band’s seriously jovial and talented bassist, Michael Devol. And though that’s all he did have to say about weed right then, he really said it all.
Greensky has earned an enormous following – the group’s especially popular at outdoor festivals where continuous music, swirling fields of tie-dyes, fresh air and trippin’ hippies rule the world, and that feeling of fresh communal fun came right along to NYC.
It’s not just that the tunes are catchy and a blast to sing along to – the lyrics can get just as gritty as some of their dirtiest country driven stomps – it’s their charisma and reciprocal love for the fans. About halfway through the first set, Anders Beck, who plays one mean dobro, announced that they’d written a jam just for us New Yorkers when they’d rolled into town at 3 a.m. the night prior.
Our special song gave each of the players a fair turn with solos and wove through elbow swinging, butt bobbing melodies. Upbeat steel, their signature use of the wah pedal, and sweet mandolin picking all really stood out throughout the collective get downs before they jammed their way right into a creative cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City.” There was also a slammin’ Prince cover later in the night.
Greensky Bluegrass loves the road as much as they love to pick, peddle and pluck, so check and see when they’re visiting your town next, and in the meantime, pick up a copy of their latest album Handguns: poignant, well-produced newgrass.
Greensky Bluegrass Brings the Green to New York City
By Mary Ought Six