Album Reviews

Greensky Bluegrass

Shouted, Written Down & Quoted

Artist:     Greensky Bluegrass

Album:     Shouted, Written Down & Quoted

Label:     Big Blue Zoo

Release Date:     11/11/2016

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Formed in 2000, the five-piece, Michigan-based Greensky Bluegrass ranks among the best of that elite breed of nu-grass outfits that are helping to redefine bluegrass for a new generation of Americana enthusiasts. That’s a credit to their instrumental agility, a sound that’s at once elegiac and expressive. Like Steep Canyon Rangers, a band with whom they seem to share a musical kinship, Greensky Bluegrass vary their motif in ways that give a nod to tradition while also asserting a certain poetic prowess.

Happily, whilst their populist precepts have made them favorites on the festival circuit, to their credit, they also represent themselves well on record. It’s easily apparent that the band–  dobro player Anders Beck, banjo player Michael Arlen Bont, guitarist Dave Bruzza, bassist Michael Devol and mandolin player Paul Hoffman– are adept at weaving arrangements that stay true to the bluegrass vernacular, while reinforcing those melodic merits as well.

Which brings us to Shouted, Written Down & Quoted, an album that effectively sums up their strengths and offers new insights into their stunning sound. “Miss September,” “Take Cover” and “Run Or Die” offer the most obvious examples of that ease and agility, but the earnest intent exhibited on songs such as “Past My Prime” and “Hold On” cut even deeper, reflecting a band that has enough serious sensibility to resonate well below the surface. Ballads like “While Waiting” and “Room Without a Roof” underscore that sensibility as well. Ultimately, it becomes evident that an affinity for bluegrass isn’t strictly required. The ability to appreciate craft and consistency are the only things needed.

And you can quote us on that as well…

– Lee Zimmerman

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