Greensky Bluegrass

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Greensky Bluegrass
Greensky Bluegrass at Delfest.jpg
From left to right: Michael Bont (banjo/vocals), Paul Hoffman (mandolin/vocals), Mike Devol (bass/vocals), David Bruzza (guitar/vocals), Anders Beck (dobro).
Background information
Origin Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA
Genres Progressive bluegrass, jam band
Years active 2000–present
Members Dave Bruzza
Paul Hoffman
Michael Bont
Anders Beck
Mike Devol
Past members Chris Carr
Al Bates

Greensky Bluegrass is a five-piece American bluegrass/Country band founded in Kalamazoo, Michigan in Mid-2000. The band has evolved over the years, growing from 3 to 5 members, adding electric effects and touring with a full light show. "The whole notion of “traditional bluegrass” strangely remains a sticking point for plenty of the genre's faithful. Partly because of their name, every article written about the band addresses the fact that what Greensky does is “not quite” bluegrass. These depths have been plumbed. In fact, in their own promotional material, GSBG describes their sound as “their own version of bluegrass music, mixing the acoustic stomp of a stringband with the rule-breaking spirit of rock & roll.”[1] Greensky Bluegrass is known for their improvisation, multiple set shows, and open audience recording policy (akin to Phish and The Grateful Dead) and have broken through to a multi genre fanbase covering songs from Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith, John Hartford, Dawes, Phish, The Grateful Dead, Rolling Stones, Prince and more.

Greensky Bluegrass' fanbase are known as 'Campers'.


The band was formed in the fall of 2000 by Michael Arlen Bont (banjo), Dave Bruzza (guitar), and Paul Hoffman (mandolin). As newcomers to the bluegrass scene, the three drew upon an array of influences and varied musical backgrounds,[specify] reflected in their May 2004 release of Less than Supper, recorded with bassist Chris Carr and dobro player Al Bates. Both Bates and Carr left the band shortly thereafter. Classical cellist Michael Devol had approached Greensky with an offer to assist in management, but ended up joining the group as bassist in the fall of 2004.[2]

In the summer of 2006 the band were winners of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Competition,[3] earning them a spot on the main stage of the 2007 festival. Soon thereafter they released their second studio album, Tuesday Letter, produced by Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth.

Greenksy Bluegrass at the 8x10 Club in Baltimore, January 2012

In November 2007 the band released its first live recording Live At Bell's, documenting two shows at Bell's Brewery in their hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Just over a month later Greensky Bluegrass added Anders Beck of Wayword Sons to the line-up.

In August 2008 the band released their third studio recording Five Interstates, also produced by Tim Carbone.

A live series, All Access was released in 2010 with volumes 1 & 2, featuring live performances in their entirety.

Their fourth, and most critically acclaimed album at the time,[citation needed] Handguns, made its debut on Billboard's Bluegrass Charts at No. 3 in October 2011, and spent nine weeks on the chart, landing at No. 33 for 2011 on Billboard's Year End Bluegrass Chart.[citation needed]

In 2013, Greensky became a staple on the popular Telluride Bluegrass Festival with their name appearing on the lineup each year.

Later in 2013 Greensky Bluegrass played Red Rocks Amphitheatre for their first time, an opening slot for Railroad Earth and Galactic. Over the next 3 years Greensky made repeated visits to the venue in a supporting role and finally headlining a sold out concert at the famed venue in 2016.

2014 brought a new album from the band titled If Sorrows Swim. The album was met with much critical acclaim debuting at #1 on the US Bluegrass Charts.

On September 23, 2016 Greensky Bluegrass released their latest studio effort Shouted, Written Down & Quoted produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. The bulk of this album was recorded in Asheville, North Carolina in October, 2015.[2]


On-stage collaborations have paired Greensky Bluegrass with:

Some of the acts the band has also shared bills with include:


Title Album details Peak chart positions
US Grass US US Indie
Less Than Supper
  • Release date: 2004
  • Label: Big Blue Zoo
Tuesday Letter
  • Release date: August 2, 2006
  • Label: Big Blue Zoo
Live at Bell's
  • Release date: 2007
  • Label: Big Blue Zoo
Five Interstates
  • Release date: September 9, 2008
  • Label: Big Blue Zoo
All Access Vol. 1
  • Release date: 2009
  • Label: Big Blue Zoo
All Access Vol. 2
  • Release date: December 14, 2010
  • Label: Big Blue Zoo
  • Release date: October 2, 2011
  • Label: Big Blue Zoo
If Sorrows Swim
  • Release date: September 9, 2014
  • Label: Big Blue Zoo
1 127 22
Shouted, Written Down & Quoted
  • Release date: September 23, 2016[9]
  • Label: Big Blue Zoo
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Specific citations
General references

External links[edit]