Interview with Mike Devol of Greensky Bluegrass
Giving Away a Pair of 2 Day Passes to Shows at Higher Ground in Burlington, VT
Greensky Bluegrass is constantly pushing the envelope on bluegrass music paying great respect to the bluegrass legends of the past with an appreciation for sounds of the now. The band will be celebrating release of “Shouted, Written Down & Quoted” on Friday, September 23rd. That night the band will be performing at Higher Ground in Burlington, VT with Fruition (Tickets & Event Info). The group will return on Saturday night as well for round 2 at the venue.
We are pleased to be giving away a pair of FREE tickets to the show! Simply fill out the form below for a chance to win.
Free Ticket Giveaway to Greensky’s Show on Sept. 23, 2016 at Higher Ground – Burlington, VT
Special thanks to Josh Hetterman, Brady Cooling, and Matthew Bowers
LMD: When I spoke with Railroad Earth, Keller Williams and Sam Bush they all harped on how special Delfest is, and how Del McCoury being the icon and legend he is really makes this is a special event. What are your thoughts on that, and doing late night shows each year?
We love Delfest! Del is the one making it special along with his entire family and what he and so many others have done with bluegrass. He is the most active and viable example of true bluegrass. There is a lot of sort of nostalgia acts out there in music; we have sadly lost so many greats lately like Ralph Stanley and many others. Del was right there with the forefathers of bluegrass that we look up to today and everyone has listened to in this genre. He and the family band (Travelin’ McCourys) still push the boundaries of bluegrass and keep him young and going today. They vary the acts and have a younger more progressive era with Greensky, Salmon, Yonder, etc. They have preserved the genre the best and continue to progress.
I don’t know if we will continue to always do bluegrass. As we become old farts we will give up the late night portion to the younger more enthusiastic acts who want to keep the party up and going all night into the morning hours. Like many before us we will take that spot, and someone will take it from us one day whenever we want to play “day-time sets” and get more sleep.
LMD: Is there is anyone in particular you haven’t gotten to perform with yet that you would really like to play with? Up and coming acts or bigger ones?
I want Trey Anastasio to sit in with us. I want him to shred it, ripping guitar solos. Any member of Phish; except Mike maybe, I’m the bass player; I don’t need him scaring me off stage. He can play banjo.
We recently had Mihali from Twiddle sit in- super talented act. He had a very tasteful sit in when we just played Werk Out Festival in Ohio. They are one of the better bands coming out. It is great to exist in this current era of jambands and bluegrass today; so much comradery among bands and the musicians. Old friends, new friends, and some we have not heard to yet; especially at summer festivals.
LMD: What are the pros and cons of a summer festival show versus just a strictly venue show during a tour? Daily day of touring?
It is a different ballgame in the summer. With the festival shows we are bouncing around every weekend; a few days at home and then off flying or driving somewhere. It is hard to get in the same groove for summer as we do for a tour because of the time off and just not being together all the time. The tour allows us to be together as a band and a crew for days at a time; we can try new stuff at soundcheck, think of new material to play and just have that chemistry that we don’t get during the summer as much. There’s trial and error, doing things right or wrong and then we can come back and correct it the next day and have that feedback. Summer is a few days and then we might not see one another for 4-5 days.
During a tour we all are around, marooned for the day with soundcheck, practice, and seeing the whole crew together. It is hard to get a break from it and just always being there. When we aren’t playing a lot, it brings some new creativity and chemistry to the band; excited to be back together on stage and just the happiness of it. Sometimes looser or not, it is all different.
LMD: Can you talk about the cover art of the album? New creative venture? How do you feel your individual sound is different from other past albums?
It’s coming out on September 23rd. “Shouted, Written Down & Quoted” – more or less our “Greensky sound” finding ways to use our bluegrass instruments to not create textures. We feel we are a band who has a couple great songwriters and we want to focus on the songs and give the best treatment to each song however it may be: jammy, texture, writing. We have very eclectic listening interests of all ranges: same things in other bands, albums, music that we want to create our own unique sound.
LMD: What’s your guilty pleasure as far as some bands you listen to?
I have numerous, ones I generally wouldn’t want to be proud to listen to at parties or share with others at a party. A lot of indie rock, pop, electronic music; which most assume has nothing to do with bluegrass music. I find a lot of it to be awful; a lot can be said about electronic musicians who know how to curate a sound right. They can cause a drop, mimic, create textures, tension and release, give and take and just letting the song flow. I wanted the band to flow with texture on this album; we know we are creating space for each part and not step on each other: and all good genres of music do this well.
We all love the Grateful Dead, classic country music, and spend plenty of time listening to classic bluegrass legends together as a band.
Friday Greensky Bluegrass will release their highly anticipated album, “Shouted, Written Down & Quoted”, is due out Friday, September 23, 2016. The band is by far one of the most sought after string acts blending an appreciation for bluegrass roots and a passion for sounds of the new. Greensky is pushing instrumentation and songwriting in the jam grass arena unlike anyone else right now. The momentum of this band, their passionate fanbase, and their energy have made them a staple on the live music circuit.
The band will be performing at Higher Ground in Burlington, VT on Friday night. We are giving away a pair of free tickets to the show, to be eligible simply fill out the form below.
LMD: Big picture: How have you guys developed as a band since winning the Telluride Bluegrass Festival years ago; a lot has happened since that first year, what is it like coming back to those same towns, festivals and places since then? Describe the overall ride and journey?
That is something that doesn’t really occur to me. There is a certain level of becoming something greater than how it started. It is not evident or seems it’s happening or a natural arc. We won the TBF competition 10 years ago and I feel like we have been touring hard since then. There is not a moment where you are like “oh we have reached that level where we aren’t just 25-year-olds with nothing to lose hoping to get a pat on the back and hoping to get some sort of recognition.” All of a sudden it’s become something it didn’t used to be. It’s funny to think that we have become a band that the younger generation of bluegrass bands look to us as innovators of the genre and bluegrass. Reading an interview when someone says we are an influence on them, it is crazy sometimes. We were always trying to get on the level of Sam Bush, Yonder, Salmon, and now somewhere we have reached the point where some bands are on the same level as us. Now we get to hang out with all of this guys and we are buddies.
It’s funny to hear people say “behemoth” because it still does not feel that way to me. We just sold out Red Rocks and that’s great, but every night is not RRX. The important part is getting to do the music we love and we want our fans to get down and be there with us.
LMD: Red Rocks is the only venue where the musicians look up at the fans from that perspective. It really is that special of a venue. Could you tell us more about it?
It is pretty sweet. It’s a place of insane natural beauty and that is something that nowhere else has; the epic natural beauty RR possesses. Denver and the surrounding areas have been really strong for us. Some fans have taken Greensky from being a band at a bar to being something. Red Rocks puts on a lot of shows; people embrace it as their home. People say it’s “Red Rocks Season.” Everyone has been thinking about playing Red Rocks their whole life as a musician and it is something I am so glad to have gotten to do.