Greensky Bluegrass brings All For Money to the Joy Theater, 10/4

They are known as one of the best bluegrass bands in the land playing the instruments of that classic country sound—banjo, dobro, mandolin, guitar, and upright bass—to create a live sound, which is without peer on the close-knit circuit of Americana bands. Greensky Bluegrass brings its music to the Joy Theater on Friday night.

Taking cues from the Grateful Dead and other like-minded bands, Greensky, as everyone on the scene refers to them, never play the same set list twice. The band is also are known for playing covers of all different styles of music even veering into seemingly disparate genres like metal. The video below is a cover of a Dead song they played a couple of nights after the Dead’s lyricist Robert Hunter passed away.

Their latest album, All For Money, was crafted with the live show in mind. Mandolin player Paul Hoffman says, “We have a motto where we want every show to be harder, better, longer and faster. With All For Money, I felt like we were serving the performance more by writing and arranging material in a way we would intend to play it on stage.”

The centerpiece of the new album is the nine-minute tour-de-force, “Courage for the Road.” “Without you around, maybe I could change,” the lyrics intone, “I need a little courage for the road.” It’s clearly a breakup song, but the music, complete with ripping leads, keeps the vibe positive while looking towards the future.

I have seen the band a couple of times already and what makes them stand out for me, besides the high energy, rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere they conjure up, the great vocals and the ace musicianship, is the fact that they do it without a drummer. Though they do use some effects both live and in the studio, it’s a compelling notion that this music could be played standing around a single microphone or without amplification at all.

Greensky’s last two shows in New Orleans were at the Jazz Fest and at Tipitina’s. The band is clearly doing something right as they continue to sell out much bigger rooms. This is a band maturing right in front of our eyes.

Michigan Rattlers open. Tickets are available here.

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