Greensky brought their innovative brand of rock-infused bluegrass to the vaunted Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado, recently and drove a shoulder-to-shoulder, standing-room-only crowd into a frenzied state of hard-pickin’ heaven.
Playing Red Rocks is considered a major milestone for many bands. If you’re headlining there, you’ve arrived. But Greensky did more than show up. They proved why they’re one of America’s most talked about bluegrass acts that’s garnered legions of followers in the past decade.
Greensky Bluegrass was founded in 2004 with three members. That would be Michael Bont on Banjo, Dave Bruzza on guitar and Paul Hoffman on mandoline. Hoffman also provides the silky vocals for the group and writes songs. They later expanded to a five-man set when they brought in Michael Devol, a classical cellist, as bass player and Anders Beck playing an amazing dobro.
A big milestone for the bluegrass quintet came in 2006 when the band won first place at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival competition. The event is held in Telluride, Colorado, and is sponsored by Planet Bluegrass.
The band released their first album in 2004. It was called Less Than Supper. The follow-up album was Tuesday Letter produced by Tim Carbone, a member of the highly Railroad Earth. Greensky’s third at latest album is Shouted, Written Down & Quoted released in 2016. That effort was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos.
Part of the reason for this group’s success is its deep bench. The vocals of Paul Hoffman and his nuanced songwriting have touched a chord with a key audience demographic. Another factor is the amazingly emotive play of Anders Beck on the dobro. Beck is something of a latecomer to the band. He joined seven years after the band originally formed in Kalamazoo, Michigan in the mid-2000s. But today fans of Greensky could not imagine this group without the iconic style Beck brings to the music. It’s as if he completed a certain “sound” the boys had been looking for from the beginning.
The audience continues to grow for Greensky, largely due to word-of-mouth promotion engendered by enthusiastic fans.