Honest music in a hectic world. The Michigan-based band Greensky Bluegrass is one of those bands whose music takes on a whole new meaning when experienced IRL. Made up of five musicians, including Anders Beck (dobro), Michael Arien Bont (banjo), Dave Bruzza (guitar), Mike Devol (upright bass) and Paul Hoffman (mandolin), they create traditional bluegrass music while commentating on the state of modern society and the emotions that come with it.
Having made music for two decades now, this group of men is more than fellow musicians but a band of brothers. We spoke with one of the members of Greensky Bluegrass, Paul Hoffman, who plays mandolin, about making music and the group’s mutual excitement about returning to live shows for their fiercely committed fandom.
Calling Lake Michigan home, Paul now lives in the metro area of Denver and enjoys the endless opportunities of outdoor recreation. He describes their band as “a bunch of friends who traveled great lengths on little sleep and turning people on to our music one at a time.” What was once a youthful narrative of thirsty couch crashers looking for a few free beers is now a successful group of seasoned artists selling out shows from Red Rocks to Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
“Our music is honest. Musically and lyrically we are just presenting what is sincere for us,” shares Paul. “I guess in that sense it’s a little self-indulgent, but there’s something honest there that is endearing. We are all pretty united in our tastes and intentions or have become so over the years. It’s pretty rare that we aren’t unanimously on board for creative adventures down some musical wormhole.”
The traveling band can often be seen at festivals, from Horning’s Hideout to Summer Camp, where they perform on their acoustic stringed instruments with laid-back energy that draws devoted listeners. Between working on a new record this year they are also prepping for their three upcoming shows at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre taking place September 17, 18 and 19.
“After not playing shows for more than a year and then returning to the stage, I felt like I was looking out at a triumphant reunion, recognizing nearly every face,'' Paul says, “we are so grateful for the bond.”
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