“Sometimes, we’re the weird band in a bluegrass festival; sometimes, we’re the bluegrass band in a weird festival.” Either way, Greensky Bluegrass fans will pack their festivals, large and small, usually for the entire run of their shows. From their home base in Michigan, Greensky Bluegrass rapidly developed a devoted following and spread that dedication to their music across the country playing hundreds of shows per year for years on end. The hard work has paid off, as the band is readily mentioned in the same phrases as Yonder Mountain String Band and the Infamous Stringdusters–bluegrass-ish bands with more in common than just their feat of bringing the hippies into the bluegrass fold; the three bands also share a songwriting mentor in Benny Galloway.
For modern bluegrass players who did not grow up with an Appalachian music heritage, pickers are usually brought into the style in two major ways: either they played punk rock and found the traditional instrumentation appealing, or they were jamband fans, who followed the path from The Grateful Dead through Jerry Garcia to Old and in the Way to David Grisman, Tony Rice, and pretty soon, they were playing Flatt and Scruggs tunes. While the traditional and progressive bluegrass camps may not always agree about “bluegrass,” the latter methods have brought more young musicians under the tent. In about five minutes of listening, fans can easily tell which influences formed the band.
Anders Beck joined Greensky Bluegrass after an earlier run with the Wayword (sic) Sons. As it became apparent that the Wayword Sons were not going to be a full-time touring band, Beck decided to examine the bands who were making music he liked who were also on the road constantly and determine which ones could benefit from the addition of a dobro. After a tour to test each other out, Beck became part of the band nearly five years ago. Since then, his instrumentals and hooks have added to the main songwriting of Greensky’s mandolin player, Paul Hoffman (who, interestingly, writes songs on acoustic guitar). To find out Beck’s connection to Metallica, though, you’ll have to listen to the radio show.
Songs in this week’s radio show:
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- Greensky Bluegrass (limited edition vinyl available directly from the band HERE) Handguns [Explicit] “Don’t Lie,” “All Four,” “I’d Probably Kill You”
- The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band “Fixing a Hole”
- Todd Snider Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables “New York Banker”
- Railroad Earth “Long Walk Home”
- The Best Of The Staple Singers “Unlock Your Mind”
- Infamous Stringdusters Silver Sky “Fire”