Greensky Bluegrass commenced Friday activities at All Good in the campgrounds with a 10:15 a.m set on the Grass Roots Stage. As at nearly other stage in the campgrounds, a sloping knoll provided a natural amphitheater for observing the performance. It was mostly filled with seated spectators in the beginning, but dancers crowded in from the sides as the show progressed. “I think I’m finally awake now,” guitarist and vocalist Dave Bruzza eventually told the crowd. “I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Friday morning than right here with all these good people.”
Greensky's cover of “We’re an American Band” by Grand Funk Railroad ended with a slight change to the lyrics:
As I discovered when Greensky visited Indianapolis last month, the band prides on being rooted in traditional bluegrass. But they're no strangers to improvisational rock that ventures into psychedelic territory. At 10 in the morning, the perfectly balanced set was quite possibly the best way to officially kick off the day.
An awesome rendition of “Stop That Train” steered far from traditional bluegrass when each member took their turn with an extended instrumental solo. Listeners got lost in the music as the band collectively guided them through the jam. The tempo increased and increased until the band unexpectedly jumped back into the song's structure: Stop that train; I’m leavin’! Before its conclusion, Bruzza switched gears to something slightly bluesy and nearly scatted out line after line repeatedly: Sendin’ a message of love to my people back home and I’m missin’ you more! Missin’ you more!
Nearing the end of their set, Greensky Bluegrass invited fans to meet up with them after the show. They announced that they would be around for the whole weekend and requested maps to campsites so they could find new friends later. They closed with a fun cover of the Talking Heads classic “We’re on the Road to Nowhere” and then the band realized they had ten extra minutes, to which they all randomly interjected their excitement:
“Oh shit! That clock is fast! [to the audience] You guys hangin?”
“Well, that makes things real interesting.”
“That’s All Good, right there people. That shit never happens.”
“That’s good news. Alright!”
“I was already missing you more.”
During tuning for the final song, Greensky thanked the audience for coming out so early in the morning to see them. “Or so late at night, whichever way you want to look at it.” They used the entire 10 minutes to play just one song, complete and satisfying with heaps of improvisational picking.
Later that day, I met up with Paul Hoffman (mandolin) and Dave Bruzza (guitar).
NUVO: So, how’s it going so far at All Good? You guys are staying and camping out for the rest of the festival?
Paul: We usually don’t camp, because it’s kind of complicated with our gear. But since we had the weekend off, we wanted to enjoy the music. *assumes country accent* It’s a big drive to get off this countrysiiide and get to a ho-tel.
NUVO: I hear that. It took us almost 4 hours to get in yesterday. When did you guys get here?
Paul: We came in Thursday night. Definitely had the “secret way”. We drove through the magic mirror. It’s about 20 miles away; you drive through it and then it just teleports you to the front gate.
Dave: Like Star Trek.
Paul: Or like Quantum Leap.
NUVO: So did you get any maps to peoples’ campsites after the show this morning like you asked for?
Paul: I did get a few maps. I’ve been walking back and forth, running into people and they’re like “I don’t have a map, but I can tell you where it is.” Pointing like, “see that flag, turn left there.”
Dave: Maps are required. The best map I got is REAL far away from our site, though. I feel bad for [Paul] Devol, our bass player. It’s gonna be a pretty big hike for him.
NUVO: Now… your banjo player. Is he going to be doing any of his special late night dance moves?
Dave: Wow. You are privy to some info.*laughs*
NUVO: I wanted to ask for a little preview at Birdy’s, but I didn’t get the opportunity to talk to you guys that night. Captain Adventure, they call him?
Paul: Captain Fun.
Dave: Yea, there’s a video of that somewhere.
Paul: It’s been like, 4 years since that happened.
Dave: We were at The Hoxeyville Festival up in Michigan. BoomBox was playing.
NUVO: Yea, I talked with them at Summer Camp.
Dave: Oh, cool. Yea, he got on stage with them and totally did the whole dance move thing. Everyone was dancing on stage. It was really cool. It was like a solo dance with BoomBox.
NUVO: What is there to talk about in the way of Greensky news?
Dave: We just released a double-disc live CD called “All Access”, the first of many volumes. It’s the whole show, it’s a great thing. It’s not like making a regular record. And it’s high quality so it sounds great. You can put in in your CD player and hear the whole thing from start to finish.
NUVO: Is it just one show?
Dave: Yea, the one we have out right now is a show that we did in November in Three Rivers, Michigan at The Rivera Theater.
NUVO: I noticed that all members of the band are currently playing instruments other than their “native” instrument they began with. Do you switch back often?
Paul: I still play guitar alot. Not in the band at all, but I do a lot of writing on the guitar and occasionally mess around with other musicians. Dave plays drums with another band at home sometimes when we’re not living in our van.
NUVO: How does a side project like that fit into your schedule with Greensky, being on the road all the time? Does it pose any challenges?
Paul: Well Hoxeyville (that we just mentioned) is promoted by one of the guys that’s actually in the other group with Dave so that’s one of the few times where he gets to play drums with Airborne Aquatic. Occasionally we have time off around the holidays and I’ll do something with guitar at a little bar or whatever. It’s rare but, we do it occasionally.
Dave: Paul and I have been known to do our own country band called The One Night Stand Band where we have a drummer, a bass player, and a pedal steel player. I’ll play electric guitar and Paul will play acoustic guitar. That’s another side project. It’s fun.
NUVO: Where does that go down?
Dave: Ah… pretty much just around home. *laughs* Bells Brewery.
NUVO: I’ve heard a lot about that place.
Dave: It’s awesome. You should come check it out.
NUVO: I think Midwest Hype plays up there a lot.
Paul: Yep. They do.
NUVO: So with your recently announced fall touring schedule, what’s got you most excited?
Dave: I was excited for last weekend. The Nateva Festival up in Maine. Next weekend will be the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in upstate New York. All the festivals we’re doing this month are festivals that we’ve never done before. It’s really cool, especially because being from Michigan, we don’t play in the east very often. But the chance to explore this part of the country and play all these really cool festivals is pretty exciting.
NUVO: Well, thanks for you time, guys. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend at All Good. I just want to make sure I find Captain Fun later tonight.
Dave: He’s in RV Camping right now. I’ll let him know.
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