Greensky Bluegrass

Live Music Review

for The Lot Scene by Parker


Greensky Bluegrass

Many months ago when Leftover Salmon announced their weekend event at the Stanley Hotel, I was thrilled at the prospect of going. Once I miraculously managed tickets for that event it never occurred to me that there was even going to be icing on the cake of that weekend: last night’s Greensky show at the Boulder Theater. Always a fan of shows at my home venue, I was no doubt excited that GSBG announced a three night run starting on a Thursday, thus ensuring I could make it to the perfect kick-off to another weekend of fast pickin’ to come. 

Rayland Baxter, a Nashville guitarist/singer fronting a trio, opened the show with a mellow sound and energy, one that he is taking on tour with GSBG.  With drums and keyboards joining in, Mr. Baxter treated us to the absolutely lovely sound of his voice, one I would describe as a combination of Paul Simon, a young Bob Dylan, and Dan Lotti (Dangermuffin).  Additionally, the band itself evoked the feel of many others throughout, one track feeling very much like a Santana cover until the lyrics came in.  And, while I say the energy was a bit mellow, these three fellows did get into a few heavy jams before they turned the stage over to the boys in Greensky.

And so it was GSBG time…the lads kicking things off with a little “Dry County” being played, most assuredly, in a county that isn’t dry of much of anything these days.  I’m not sure that phoff and I have ever spoken directly about my truly and abiding lifelong love of the band Pink Floyd and their incredible, incredible catalogue of music.  However, it would seem several such conversations had occurred when Greensky Bluegrass roared from “County” into a simply badass version of Floyd’s “Time” in order to get the evening whipped into a psychadeligrass frenzy.  Solo after solo after solo made each instrument shine in the virtuoso hands assembled on stage, their interplay threading so many different musically emotive textures:  Beck - crisp, clean, quick, voluminous; Bruzza - dirty, nasty, organic, mean; Bont - sweet, sonorous, lofty, lean.  So good, so right up my alley…everything to come after was going to be so gravy tonight!  A very solid “Demons” and “I’d Probably Kill You” took us to Jimmy Martin’s “Hit Parade of Love” another favorite of this here reviewer. With wild Bruzza baying the lyrics into the mic in his own, Bruzza fashion, the remainder of the band gave us all some fast-ass backin’ and pickin’.  An 11:38 “Lose My Way” followed and was, in a word, fantastic.  But even better than that — such a soulful song done soulfully.  Soulgrass?  Yeah, soulgrass.  The boys invited Mr. Rayland Baxter back to the stage to do a number with them, this time “Olivia”.  Man, do I love his voice.  Finally, the (can you believe it??) first set came to a close with a lovely lengthy “Train Junkie” and it was time to get our set-break on.

Second set jumped off with an intro segueing into “Cold Feet” with a tasty lead-in dobro solo from Beck.  And Mr. Bruzza of course, of course.  Great way to start a set in my opinion.  Hoffman’s haunting “In Control” serenaded the crowd through to rowdy, rollicking, ‘punch-a-relative’ kind of awesome version of “Can’t Stop Now”.  Very much one of the reasons we all cough up some hard-earned scratch to come bask in the diaphanously diabolical divine debauchery that is GSBG.  You want to leave one their shows feeling a certain way…you know the way I mean.  And this show was not disappointing in the least!  Coming to the end of another long set, an extensive “Broke Mountain Breakdown” broke us all down into dancing, clapping, jumping, and hittin’ that hootenanny feeling on a Thursday night!  And, just to keep life lovely and wonderful, how about a little Michael Jackson in the middle of your Breakdown?  Mainly a little “Beat It” no less?  Hells to the King!!!  “When I Get My Hands On You” and “What's Left Of The Night” were our double-barrel encores, one soft and sweet, one energetic and happy-making — just the way you want to leave a show, no?  And, once again, Greensky Bluegrass delivered another balanced bevy of bluegrass and badassery.  Well done, fellas!!