Greensky Bluegrass brought their All For Money tour to the Madison Theater on January 16, where Paul Hoffman (mandolin/vocals), Dave Bruzza (guitar/vocals), Michael Bont (banjo), Mike Devol (bass), and Anders Beck (dobro) celebrated the eve of the eve of their album release day of their 7th studio album, All For Money, two days later on the 18th. The group wasted no time diving into the new material, as the first set opened with two songs off their new album- the first being the Hoffman/Bruzza duet “Cathedral Eyes” followed by “What You Need.”
Read our review of All For Money here.
Check out photos from the show here.
GSBG then picked up the energy with their rendition of Flatt & Scruggs’ “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down,” a fast-paced romp that the band used to launch into a pair of originals that included a personal favorite of mine, “I’d Probably Kill You” off their 2011 studio effort Handguns. To this point, the first set was a textbook display of Greensky originals old and new. But the highlights of the latter half of the set were two covers. First, their take on the bluegrass traditional tune “Little Maggie” left the song’s original structure on Earth while the group explored a psychedelic space for nearly 10 minutes, giving time for the elaborate light rig to fill the room with changing designs, colors, and patterns and eventually landing in a jam that saw Anders Beck fire up the overdrive on his dobro for a soaring electric guitar-esque solo before one last run through the refrain.
Circles Around The Sun opened the show with 45 minutes of instrumental funky and psychedelic jam that the crowd loved. The conversations among the crowd between bands often landed on hoping Circles guitarist Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood; formerly of Ryan Adams & the Cardinals) would join GSBG for an electric guitar sit-in later in the night. As is often the case on a “Casual Wednesday” in the world of GSBG tour, the crowd got their wish and Neal joined the group for Roy Rogers/Norton Buffalo tune “Ain’t No Bread in the Breadbox” (made famous by Jerry Garcia Band) to trade slide guitar solos with Beck in a climactic jam to end the first set.
The second set started with fan favorite “Fixin’ to Ruin” and never looked back, as the group rattled off originals and oft-played covers for a solid hour of crowd sing-alongs and stretched out improvisations. GSBG staples “In Control” and “Windshield” had the crowd energy at its peak as the clock crept past 11:30 and the set-closing “Courage for the Road” from All for Money let the group stretch its musical legs one last time.
The expected and always appreciated “Casual Wednesday” opened the encore, which included the typical stage banter from Anders Beck, before the group brought the proverbial house down with a cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”.
A January date with GSBG has become an annual tradition for me and many other bluegrass fans in the area, and the innovative jamgrass group’s continued evolution and expansive songwriting keeps the shows fresh and welcome. But if you can’t wait until next year, GSBG will be in Columbus on February 6th with rising bluegrass stars Billy Strings.