Big Blue Zoo
Greensky Bluegrass has come a long way out on the edge of the bluegrass music scene. Following in the tradition of newgrass artists such as Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, as well as the Jerry Garcia/David Grisman/Old & In The Way wing of the genre, the Michigan-based band has impressively gained a big following and a headliner reputation in the music world. To headline a concert at the prestigious and beautiful Red Rocks venue in Colorado, as the band did in 2015 and since, is a testament to how far they’ve come.
Shouted, Written Down and Quoted is an interesting set of music produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos fame. With bluegrass instrumentation intact, the band has described itself in various ways saying, “You can call us an acoustic ensemble, or a drum-less rock band, or a rock-and-roll bluegrass band, and all of that shifting identity has taught us to cover a lot of ground.” And yet, that banjo and mandolin and especially the amazing resonator guitar work of Anders Beck is constantly flowing and pleasant to the ear. They bring new and original music to the table with every project.
The highlights here include the free-flowing “Miss September,” the retrospective yet rollicking “Past My Prime,” the dance-inducing “Time To Take Cover,” and the fairly straight-ahead bluegrass of “Fixin’ To Ruin.” The best song on the album, however, is the seven-minute “Living Over,” which has a majestic feel to it and, like the rest of the album, is excellent music to put on while setting up camp in the middle of nowhere. (www.greenskybluegrass.com)DH