Greensky Bluegrass (Not Out Of Control In Richmond)
Right before I left for Las Vegas for three wonderful nights of Widespread Panic (Review Coming Soon) I had the extreme pleasure of seeing Greensky Bluegrass for the 3rd time this summer. Greensky has been a staple in my musical diet since Roosterwalk this past summer, with that amazing sit-in from the man himself, Marcus King.
Greensky’s songs are evocative, thought provoking and heartbreaking at times. They are the perfect band to uplift your spirits and cause you to reflect upon, not only your life but you inner self. With songs like ‘Old Barns’ ‘Windshield’ and ‘In Control’ that include lyrics like, “Everything around me now will be reduced to the ground, At the cost of my foolish nature, Consequence and conditioning, All weighing at me, To slow my patience.” and “Old barns don't tear down, Let 'em stand proud until they fall to the ground.” With these lyrics the listener can feel and hear the spiritual mantra that is Greensky Bluegrass.
While most of their songs are quite uplifting and happy, they can delve into the deeper side of not only Bluegrass but also the human psyche. There are moments within some of the Jams that feel almost dark and chaotic, they give me shivers up my spine. This is one of the reason I really enjoy this band but also one of the reasons many start talking during Greensky’s jam into progressive Bluegrass, which the name itself means to “move forward” and that's just what they do, innovating and keeping Bluegrass fresh. They seem to take influence from Arabic or Indian melodic structures, chord progressions and scales.
‘Headed for a breakdown’ was well done and jammed out beyond proportions. Included in this set list was ‘Old Barns’ and ‘In Control’ with a very special ‘When Doves Cry’ the classic Prince song. Greensky always seems to pull out a new and exciting cover every time I see them. Each show I have seen has included a new cover first-ABB at Roosterwalk , second-‘Atlantic City’ at Lockn' (The Band style not Springsteen) and finally Prince. This is one of the reasons I will continue to see Greensky Bluegrass every chance I get.
Listening back to this show on nugs.net, the rendition of ‘Broke Mountain Breakdown’ is fantastic and definitely one of the best I have heard. The encore ‘Demons’ was dark and ominous but uplifting and left the crowd satisfied.
Greensky has become one of my favorite live acts this past year they fill a niche that this genre of Progressive Bluegrass has needed since Bela Fleck and the Flecktones; extreme improvisation and dark transient compositions. Although Greensky’s music keeps reminding me of my past and brings out some heavy emotions, I continue to integrate their music into my daily life and can recall countless mornings waking up with ‘Old Barns’ or ‘In Control’ lodged inside my head, like some sort of burrowing creature. I'm sure if you give them a listen, you will find something there that is irresistible and undeniable.
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Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.