Their recent sold-out performance at Colorado’s Red Rock Amphitheatre showed why Greensky is the hottest bluegrass band in America. It’s been an amazing year for these five guys from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Enthusiastic crowds are showing up in venues large and small across America. Their latest album, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted, has been generating kind reviews from critics.
Greensky is fronted by Paul Hoffman who is also the group’s songwriter. His lyrics have been described as “nuanced” and “emotive,” but also “fetching.” Anders Beck gets a huge chunk of the critical love for his masterful and “fiery” play of the dobro. He’s a relative late-comer to the band, but Beck has been key in making the boys gel musically.
On banjo is Michael Bont. He was a guitar player before he picked up the banjo at age 20. But once he did, Bont says he became obsessed with it. He says he sat in his mother’s kitchen and did nothing but play banjo while all other aspects of life passed by. Today he’s mastered a unique style that integrates smoothly with guitar and mandolin.
Michael Devol plays base for Greensky. His path to bluegrass heaven comes by way of classical music. He played the classical cello before being tapped to sit in with these guys — and the rest is history.
It’s interesting to note that Greensky is a band without a drummer. It’s just five guys on strings. This makes Devol’s thumping and intricate bass licks even more essential for keeping the guys on beat.
The band’s rapidly growing success can be pinpointed to an ever-growing legion of adoring fans. These days, it seems new musical acts live and die on spontaneous word-of-mouth promotion. That means playing hundreds of gigs to audienced big and small across the nation. It’s a slow process. Sometimes “a crowd” means a handful of people in a backwater bar. But Greensky lives for these kind of engagements. It’s what led to an ever-developing fan base that showed up in massive numbers as Red Rocks — 9,500 seats all filled and standing room only.