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Greensky Bluegrass mandolinist, vocalist and songwriter Paul Hoffman says the group’s name isn’t the only duality – the acoustic five-piece is a bluegrass band that rocks.

Winner of the 2006 Telluride Song Contest, Greensky Bluegrass has enjoyed a steady build from coffeehouse open-mics to clubs, theatres and beyond – from near-sellouts at Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver to three sold-out nights at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., last month.


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Photo: Dylan Langille/ OnTheDLPhoto.com

Greensky Bluegrass

The band, consisting of Hoffman, Anders Beck on dobro, Michael Arlen Bont on banjo, Mike Devol on upright bass and Dave Bruzza on guitar, is neither strictly bluegrass nor even jamgrass. Though it has a traditional lineup without a drummer, Greensky Bluegrass has a sound very much its own and its fan base cuts a wide swath that defies genre or demographics.

“Our success really speaks a lot to the growth of young people’s engagement with what has traditionally been an older people’s genre,” manager Matt Beck, of Zoologic Media, told Pollstar

“More and more, as the marketplace becomes more crowded, genre becomes less significant. It really seems like people at this point don’t really care where it comes from, as long as it moves them and engages them in a deep way.

“We’re fortunate to have incredible songwriters in the band that certainly separate what we’re doing from jamband perspective, or a bluegrass perspective. We’re really a song band at its core. It’s a great advantage,” Beck said.


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Photo: J VanBuhler

Greensky Bluegrass

Greensky Bluegrass plays about 175 shows a year, ranging from rock clubs to festivals off the usual acoustic festival grid like Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

And it’s largely done it in DIY fashion. With the possible exception of booking, which is handled by Partisan Arts’ Hank Sacks, most aspects of Greensky Bluegrass’ operation is inhouse. It writes and records its own songs on its own Big Blue Zoo label, which is preparing a new record for fall release to be distributed by Thirty Tigers, followed by a national headline tour being booked now. – Deborah Speer