Greensky Bluegrass began 20 years ago in Kalamazoo, Michigan with the founding trio of guitarist Dave Bruzza, banjoist Michael Bont and mandolinist Paul Hoffman, who brought a wide spectrum of musical influence to their newfound love of Bluegrass. Even with the swirling crosscurrents of their individual tastes, Greensky Bluegrass's debut album, 2004's Less Than Supper, was a fairly straightforward Bluegrass affair, but certainly hinted at the underlying expanses they were about to explore.
For the recording of Less Than Supper, Greensky Bluegrass added a bassist and dobro player, both of whom quickly exited the band; the bass position was ultimately taken by Classical cellist Michael Devol, who had initially offered his assistance in a management role. In 2006, the band released a sophomore studio album, Tuesday Letters. The following year, they played a three-show run with the Wayward Sons in Colorado and jammed with the Sons' dobroist Anders Beck, who subsequently sat in with Greensky Bluegrass for their big stage debut at Telluride Bluegrass Festival. He joined Greensky as a permanent member in 2008.
As the band's profile has expanded through live collaborations with the likes of the Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann, Bluegrass icon Sam Bush and like-minded group Railroad Earth, Greensky Bluegrass has rocketed into the limelight in the past four years. After five well-received studio albums and a trio of live releases, all through their own label, Big Blue Zoo, the band dropped their sixth album, 2016's Shouted, Written Down & Quoted, which was produced by Los Lobos' Steve Berlin and is a brilliant showcase of their Bluegrass-through-a-psychedelic-looking-glass ethic. In short order, the band began playing larger venues and adding shows to accommodate ticket sales, all leading to the release of the tongue-in-cheekily titled All For Money a little over a year ago.
They may not be your grandpappy's Bluegrass, but ignoring Greensky Bluegrass's version of it might just deprive you of the best night of your life.
Greensky Bluegrass plays Covington's Madison Theater on Tuesday, Feb. 4 with guests Ghost Light. Tickets/more info: madisontheater.com.