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Concert Reviews:
Greensky Bluegrass at the Fillmore, 5 Things to Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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The title of Greensky Bluegrass' new album, "All For Money," is a bit tongue in cheek. But the Kalamazoo-formed quintet has, in fact, been pretty on the money during the past 19 years.



Over that time the group, whose members now reside all around the country, has released seven studio albums and become a fixture on both the Americana and jam band scenes. It's a fixture at major festivals, straddling the roots and rock divide, and it's grown in the studio as well, 15 years after the release of its debut album.



"All For Money," which came out Jan. 18, was recorded at Echo Mountain Sound in Asheville, N.C. and co-produced by the band and Dominic John Davis, a fellow Michigander and Jack White's regular bassist...



• Mandolinist Paul Hoffman, who wrote eight of the new album's 12 tracks, says by phone that Greensky's "wanted to get the energy of us playing and not having it sound like it was tooled together. “On a lot of past records we would discover those tones as we were working on the songs in the studio. Now we've played so much that we just have a lot more ideas to choose from, and new tricks from the last record that pop up when we're improvising on stage. This time we brought them in with us as things that could be part of the songs from the get-go."



• Hoffman adds that "All For Money's" epic and experimental title track "kind of sums up the record process, in a way. It's really about the band. When we made our first record in '04 it's not like we were trying to shop it around for anything or win awards and all that. It's hard to believe it's been 15 years, seven records. It's been impressive -- and humbling."



• Greensky's heavy touring has given the band "an arsenal of tools in the studio to make things sound cool," according to Hoffman, "specifically some effects we use on our instruments -- amp tones and a lot of that stuff that's incorporated into our improvised live show, things we do when we're on stage that don't necessarily have a home anywhere. We remember them, and when we're in the studio we incorporate them if it feels right for the songs."



• Hoffman says Greensky's drawing power as a live act is "just mind-bending. I think back to when I was 16, 18 and saw Phish at an amphitheater; The ones we're playing aren't as big, but it's great to see the places get bigger and the crowds get bigger and see how it's growing just about every time."



• Despite the geographic distance between them, Greensky's members are still drawn together by the music, according to Hoffman. "We enjoy ourselves -- I think that's important. It's like a genuine sharing of creative ideas. We also challenge ourselves, take risks, and I think that helps. We're not afraid to mess up if we go for it. There's an honest about it; I like when I see bands like that, and I like to see it in us. Our success along the way has been one step at a time. We've never been stagnant. It's certainly been challenging at times, but always fun and rewarding."



Greensky Bluegrass and Billy Strings perform Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8-9, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors at 7 p.m. $20-$49.50 with limited $50 two-day tickets. 313-961-5451 or thefillmoredetroit.com.

Web Site: www.thefillmoredetroit.com

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