An independent band nationally-recognized for their live show, Greensky Bluegrass defy the boundaries of acoustic music with their self-produced fourth studio effort, Handguns, scheduled for release on October 4. In the meantime, however, Greensky is offering the first half of the album for free download… no strings attached by simply going to Greensky’s website, www.greenskybluegrass.com. It is also available for stream on the band’s Band Camp site.
This new studio offering is a brave expression of what separates their original music from the rest of the bluegrass genre. For years, while the Kalamazoo, MI band has been gaining recognition for their high energy live show, Handguns proves that they can handle themselves in the studio as well.
Handguns was recorded in between tours this winter as the band holed up in a studio in Lansing, committing the songs straight-to-tape on the exact recording console that originally birthed Lynyrd Skynyrd’s infamous track "Free Bird” decades earlier. Matching the warmth of the analog sound, vintage microphones were utilized alongside state-of-the-art studio equipment to create a truly blended and artful sonic experience.
This overlap of traditional and forward-thinking runs throughout most every aspect of Greensky Bluegrass. The opening cut is titled "Don’t Lie", and the result of Handguns is just that, a collection of songs that speak true. Greensky doesn’t boast to know it all, but they don’t restrain, letting the listener in on the trials and triumphs of their journey.
"Should have been a farmer and blamed it on the weather, with soiled hands and a tired back to show for my efforts," sings Hoffman on the album’s title track. Modest maybe, but as the listener continues, they are relieved that the band did not trade their instruments for plows or cubicles.
Greensky has continued to gain national momentum since they won the Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s coveted Band Competition in 2006 and have been invited to play at this summer’s Northwest String Summit, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival and NPR’s Mountain Stage, while also playing at Bonnaroo, Bumbershoot and The Hangout Festivals. They’re a bluegrass band but they’re not. Bluegrass doesn’t have distortion, or horns for that matter. Handguns does.
As a bonus for all, Greensky Bluegrass is giving away half of Handguns for free. This five-song Handguns EP is available on the Greensky Bluegrass website for anyone who wants to listen.
The motive? To be heard. For musicians, the model has changed with satellite radio where the F word flies free and name-your-own-price record releases. One thing remains true, however: when the music is great, people will listen.