Greensky Bluegrass

Beak & Skiff and Creative Concerts Present

Greensky Bluegrass

Driftwood, The Blind Owl Band

Fri, August 4, 2017

Doors: 5:00 pm / Show: 5:00 pm

Beak and Skiff Apple Orchards

LaFayette, NY

$25.00 - $30.00

This event is all ages

Greensky Bluegrass
Greensky Bluegrass
For more than a decade and a half, the members of Greensky Bluegrass have created their own version of bluegrass music, mixing the acoustic stomp of a stringband with the rule-breaking spirit of rock & roll. They redefine that sound once again with their sixth album, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted.

Like the band's own name, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is a collection of opposites, full of dark psychedelic swirls, bright bursts of acoustic guitar, soundscapes, solos, freethinking improvisation, and plenty of sharp, focused songwriting. It's wild and wide-ranging, showing off the diversity Greensky Bluegrass brings to every live show. At the same time, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is unmistakably a studio album, recorded during two different sessions — one at Echo Mountain Studio in Asheville, North Carolina; the other at the Mountain House Recording Studio in Nederland, Colorado — that comprise the band's longest block of recording time ever. The result is an 11-track album whose songs cast a wide net, mixing the full-throttle energy of a Greensky Bluegrass concert with the nuanced approach of a band that's still eager to explore.

"You can call us an acoustic ensemble, or a drum-less rock band, or a rock & roll bluegrass band," says mandolin player Paul Hoffman, who, along with guitarist Dave Bruzza, handles most of the album's writing duties. "All of that shifting identity has taught us to cover a lot of ground. There's a flow to this album, just like there's a flow to our setlists. There are some aggressive, rocking moments. Some bouncy, funky moments. An acoustic think piece or two. It's a balance of moods and textures that we create as a band, almost like a mix tape."

Formed in 2000 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Greensky Bluegrass kicked off their career playing living rooms and open mic nights across the Midwest. By 2005, they were touring nationally, and by 2006, they were playing the first in a long series of appearances at the annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Bandmates Hoffman, Bruzza, dobro player Anders Beck, banjoist Michael Arlen Bont, and upright bassist Mike Devol spent most of the following decade on the road, fine-tuning a live show modeled not after the toned-down production of traditional bluegrass music, but the full-on spectacle of rock.

"We play two sets of music every night with a big light show, and really care about creating a large scale production," notes Bruzza, adding that, "the goal isn't just to play important music. We want to cultivate an experience, where people can escape from their everyday lives for a minute and put their worries aside."

Playing as many as 175 shows per year, Greensky Bluegrass have graduated to headlining status at some of the country's most iconic venues, selling out amphitheaters like Red Rocks and world-class auditoriums like the Ryman. They've become a regular name on the festival circuit, too, adding Bonnaroo, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Austin City Limits, Forecastle, and Outside Lands to their touring schedule. Supported by a grassroots audience whose members often travel for hours to see the band, Greensky Bluegrass are still a proudly independent act, enjoying the success of a major-label act — including a Number One debut on the Billboard Bluegrass chart for their fifth album, 2014's If Sorrows Swim — without giving up complete control of their own business.

Released on the band's label, Big Blue Zoo, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted kicks off with "Miss September," a song that splits its focus between Hoffman's mid-tempo melodies and the band's instrumental solos. Most of the album's tracks strike a similar balance, showcasing a group whose vocal hooks and flat-picking skills share the spotlight equally. Meanwhile, the guys stretch their legs on "Living Over" — an improvised, seven-minute knockout that's already become a live staple — and show surprising restraint with "While Waiting," a slower song whose ebb-and-flow arrangement often finds no more than two bandmates playing at once. "Room Without a Roof" features some of the group's most layered production to date, with electric instruments adding some thick sonic padding, while "More of Me" cranks up the drama, with Hoffman singing about heartache over a bed of minor-key guitar arpeggios.

"We tend to have a darker sense to our songs than most acoustic bands," Bruzza adds, "but we still have light moments, too. We're trying to explore the textures and sounds we can make, while still having the instrumentation of a bluegrass band. There aren't many rules. We'll run a dobro though an amp on a song like 'Past My Prime.' We can get pretty epic. This album is a crazy carnival one minute, and it's a psychedelic Pink Floyd jam the next."

Equal parts dark, driving, and dynamic, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is Greensky Bluegrass at their best, fusing the fiery fretwork of their live shows with the focus of a true songwriting outfit.
Driftwood
Driftwood
When most people think of upstate New York, they either imagine bucolic landscapes or working-class towns. As natives of Binghamton, the members of Driftwood hail from a working town, but play music rooted in the land, leaning alternately into folk, old-time, country, punk, and rock, depending on their personal moods and their songs’ needs.

“It’s sometimes tough to keep any sort of focus on style or sound when you have three different songwriters,” guitarist Dan Forsyth concedes. “But it also allows us to branch out and explore in ways other bands don’t. Also, I think it’s important, as a band, to ask ourselves ‘Is this a good next step?’ I think everyone is very excited to know that it is.” Describing the Driftwood sound, banjo player Joe Kollar offers, “I consider our sound to be more of an attitude and an approach — the result of all of our influences in a completely open musical forum where the only stipulation is to use bluegrass instruments and create it from the heart.”

That’s as close to being pinned down as Driftwood ever gets. Such has always been the case for artists blurring and blending genre lines in order to innovate. Yes, they wield old-time instruments, but they do so with a punk-rock ethos. “I do not know much about punk music, but I do know that it gives me a feeling of tearing into something without inhibition,” violinist Claire Byrne says, adding, “Old-time music has the same feeling for me. The music was a release for people living extremely hard lives in harsh conditions. In this way, the two styles of music are very similar: It’s digging in and making a statement. It’s rocking out and feeling totally reborn through the song.”

Driftwood has been digging in and rocking out since their 2005 formation, playing an average of 150 shows a year. “In the beginning, we hit the road constantly with an all-or-nothing attitude,” Forsyth confides. “We were doing it with a lot of passion, but had no thoughts about long-term sustainability. Life outside of the band was minimal. One thing that I think we started to notice was, when you’re always in it, you have no perspective and you start to lose yourself in a weird way.”

As such, gigging and traveling that much can’t help but influence and inform the band, individually and collectively. In the past, they used the stage to work out arrangements of new songs. For City Lights, they used the studio. “Keeping this kind of touring schedule, we have thought of recording albums as a sort of secondary thing and considered ourselves a ‘live’ band. We learn so much on the road and this kind of work has always felt productive,” Forsyth explains. “It wasn’t until this last album that we took some time off to learn more about being in the studio. We wanted to take our time and record on our own terms.”

According to Byrne, their own terms included “taking a step forward with the production and the arrangements.” Kollar tacks “learning” on, for good measure, while Forsyth adds “good songs and bigger arrangements, and sounds than we had not previously achieved.”
The Blind Owl Band
The Blind Owl Band
The Blind Owl Band, from Saranac Lake, NY, in the Heart of The Adirondack Mountains in Upstate NY, are expanding their ground in 2015! Since inception in September of 2010, The Blind Owl Band has forged a unique sound with their stringed instruments. A relentless approach in all they do, whether a packed touring schedule or energy packed show. Get ready, for this freight train will not stop!
“Although we look like a bluegrass band we are not. We are a musical representation of what sounds float around in our heads. We use the instruments of our ancestors, but play music of our time, influenced by all that has happened in the musical world over the past 26 years. We achieve a unique personal sound through a raw instrumentation. In a time of perfection and an expansion of the realm through digital processors, we hope to inspire use of wood and metal. To take a basic approach and expanded it to a sound all its own.”
The Blind Owl Band, call this Freight Train String Music, it would fall under the broader category of Northern Contemporary Bluegrass. The band pushes this music concept from all 4 sides from start to finish of each performance. The band is a 4 piece string band, featuring Arthur Buezo (Guitar, Vocals), Christian Cardiello, (Double Bass, Fretless Bass), James Ford, (Banjo Vocals) and Eric Munley (Mandolin, Vocals). The band views their traditional arrangement as just the start of the musical concept. There is no one conductor of this band, but four shovel boys pushing the limits of their engine.
In just under three years the band has released their debut album "Rabble Rousing" a 15 track album featuring all original music. Just this past July the band also released the follow up This Train We Ride is Made of Wood and Steel, a 12 track, completely original album, displaying the continued development of the band. Heavy regional touring has also ensued all over the North East playing over 450 shows in 16 states since the band starting regional touring in January 2012. The Blind Owl Band has also appeared at over 60 festivals during this time. This includes: The Peach Music Festival, The Susquehanna Breakdown, Jerry Jam, Backwoods Pondfest, Jibber Jazz Madsummer Meltdown, Fiddlers Picnic, The Purple Pig Music Festival, Harrys Harvest Festival, Sterling Stage and More.The Blind Owl Band has shared the stage with: Trampled By Turtles, Railroad Earth, The Hackensaw Boys, Larry and His Flask, The Rumpke Mtn. Boys, Hot Day at The Zoo, Floodwood, Cabinet, Driftwood, Jatoba, Eastbound Jesus, The Mallett Brothers and more! It has been a positive start for the Blind Owl Band. They look forward to expanding new grounds in 2015 both on the surface of the earth, and in the noise in the air! Get ready for Adirondack Freight Train String Music!
Venue Information:
Beak and Skiff Apple Orchards
2708 Lords Hill Road (Rte. 80)
LaFayette, NY, 13084