For more than a decade and a half, the members of Greensky Bluegrass have created their own version of bluegrass music, mixing the acoustic stomp of a stringband with the rule-breaking spirit of rock & roll. They redefine that sound once again with their sixth album, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted.
Playing as many as 175 shows per year, Greensky Bluegrass have graduated to headlining status at some of the country's most iconic venues, selling out amphitheaters like Red Rocks and world-class auditoriums like the Ryman. They've become a regular name on the festival circuit, too, adding Bonnaroo, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Austin City Limits, Forecastle, and Outside Lands to their touring schedule. Supported by a grassroots audience whose members often travel for hours to see the band, Greensky Bluegrass are still a proudly independent act, enjoying the success of a major-label act — including a Number One debut on the Billboard Bluegrass chart for their fifth album, 2014's If Sorrows Swim — without giving up complete control of their own business.
We sat down with Mike Devol (bass/vocals) of Greensky Bluegrass prior to the show!
You have developed quite the fanbase over the years. How would you describe your fans?
Amazing! Loyal. Fun. Sometimes wild. We're very lucky to be friends with many of our fans, and it's been awesome to watch the greensky community grow into what it has become. I think with our band there is a real interplay with our fanbase. They keep us on our toes, and it's important to us that we push our limits to change up the show and make each night special for the many fans who are now seeing us for multiple nights on a run. That dictates the way we write our setlist, so each show has a unique vibe- sometimes raging, sometimes loose and casual. It's very personal with us, and the fans really have a lot to do with the outcome and character of any given show. We love it.
What are a few of your favorite experiences on the road?
Playing shows mustn't be forgotten. I'm reminded nightly (ideally) of the very reason I picked up a bass and joined this band. Just being on stage, playing music that I believe in with my boys. Making people happy. Yes. But of course, there have been many other great memories made in the time between. Exploring canyons, ice skating, revelry.
Having played so many iconic venues and festivals, what are your favorite environments to play in?
A great venue comes in many forms. It makes it more fun anyway. Telluride always comes to mind. Also Red Rocks. Also, theaters and halls where some GREAT moments in rock and roll have occurred. The Fillmore. The Cap. Hollowed ground, if you will.
For someone who has never been to a Greensky show, what can they expect?
It's gonna be fun. It looks really fun. I've never gotten to watch the band, but I’ve gotten to watch the crowd, and they're having a great time. There will be dancing.
What is next for Greensky Bluegrass?