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Published: 2009/07/17
by Sean Schmidt

Greensky Bluegrass, Sheridan Opera House Telluride, CO- 6/20

For all the amateur bluegrass bands toiling and tugging along on the on the
chain gang of this earthly domain, seldom do the clouds part. Sadly, many
proficient, well-intending musicians pick away their entire lives yearning
fruitlessly for the Gods of Bluegrass to present them their season of bloom,
liberating them from the shackles of dive-bar basements and barnyards. In
Kalamazoo, MI however, the sky is open, the order has been chosen, and the
Powers that Be have presented Greensky Bluegrass opportunities afforded only
to the truly fortunate. Among such gifts includes their success in 2006,
winning the Best Band competition at the Telluride Bluegrass festival, and
the inclusion of Tim Carbone- of Railroad Earth fame- as producer for their
last two studio albums. Now in 2009, the band has once again heard the call
of the Fair Season, accepting an invitation back to Telluride, and onto the
famed stage of the Sheridan Opera House.

"Nightgrass," as the Sheridan shows are called, offer fans the opportunity to witness larger
then life performers in a venue not much larger then Sam Bush’s tour bus,
and with an air of intimacy only a building from the turn of the 20th
century can provide. For Greensky Bluegrass however, the show offered the
band both one-time honorary membership into the fraternal order of Those Who
Have Made It, as well as the otherwise unlikely opportunity of cementing
their resume on the desk of talent buyers everywhere.
Appearing onstage, Greensky Bluegrass looked not of a heavenly domain, but
rather down to earth. Not yet bearing the demeanor of big-time stars, the
band seemed approachable; at times possessing an almost "older brother"
quality about them. Though musically dexterious and generally deserving of
the stage, Greensky Bluegrass lacked the "chill factor" of more charismatic
performers. Plunging into a genre deep repitoir of original material,
Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton, and Prince music, the band’s set seemed to
flounder through stronger musical personalities in search of its own
identity. Though not unpleasant in anyway, and certainly not without
technical merit, Greensky Bluegrass performance undoubtedly lack that
definitive edge which cuts strait through to the left ventricle of the
listener.

All things considered, it was perhaps the earnestness of Greensky
Bluegrass’ presence that made the show memorable; proud parents in
attendance and loyal fans touting inflatable monkeys, keeping newly formed traditions alive. The
shows pinnacle came at the close of the first set, when guitarist Dave
Bruzza, now well at ease inside the Sheridan, sang harmony with a nearly
ecstatic audience on I Know You Rider’s famous Colorado referencing lyric,
"I wish I was a headlight on a Northbound train." For Bruzza, Greensky,
their family and fans, it might just be the sincerity of such requests, that
cause the Gods of Bluegrass to continue to be gracious.

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