Greensky Bluegrass throw down at The Mint

By Pete Mauch //

Greensky Bluegrass //
The Mint – Los Angeles
November 2nd, 2012 //

Greensky Bluegrass stormed into The Mint in LA on Friday and delivered a tasty set of foot-stompin’ originals and clever cover songs that you wouldn’t normally expect at a bluegrass show. There’s something special about this quintet from Kalamazoo, Michigan because you feel immediatly connected with them as if they’re playing on your back porch. Anders Beck, who plays the dobro, could easily be a comedian on the side. His banter in between songs is priceless. Greensky Bluegrass is a force to be reckoned with on the bluegrass scene, and they proved it once again at The Mint.

Freshly shaven Paul Hoffman on Mandolin delivers songs with great passion and skill. His mandolin playing is delicate yet his voice bellows out thoughtful lyrics. I particularly liked his playing on Greensky’s original “Old Barns.” This powerful tune evokes the feeling of listening to your grandfather telling stories about the good ol’ days, and Hoffman played it beautifully. One of my favorite songs, “All Four,” which is the last track off their newest album Handguns was also a highlight of the set. “I’d Probably Kill You” is fun little number that was sung by Dave Bruzza that is probably about an ex-girlfriend who drove him nuts, and it features a great mandolin solo by Hoffman.

Another great part of the band is their beautiful harmonies, which are well thought-out and add to their unique sound. Guitarist Dave Bruzza has a deep voice that compliments Hoffman’s softer tone. Bruzza was sporting a mullet leftover from Halloween night when they played an all 80’s cover show in San Francisco at The Independent. It seemed to fit right into the bluegrass scene and of course Anders had to point that out with his witty stage banter. Now, Beck may be a jokester, but when it comes to the Dobro he is very serious. His addition to the band just a few years back really adds great depth and texture.

One of my favorite parts of a Greensky Bluegrass’ show is their amazing choice of covers. Fresh off the Halloween covers show, I figured they had some new cuts that they wanted to share to this LA crowd. They ended the first set with “Second that Emotion”, originally by Smokey Robinson, and it was well-received. Grateful Dead’s “West L.A. Fadeaway” also made an appearance, much to the delight of this West LA crowd. Greensky even dared to take on Pink Floyd’s classic rocker “Time” in great bluegrass fashion, and they conquered it. Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” ended the night, and they rocked this classic tune out, and before I knew what hit me, the night was over. Greensky Bluegrass is the real deal, and their show guarantees a great night out on the town.

“You Can Call Me Al”:

“I’d Probably Kill You”:

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