Greensky Bluegrass at House of Blues Cleveland

Beachland Presents

Greensky Bluegrass at House of Blues Cleveland

Joshua Davis

Wednesday Feb 7 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

House of Blues - Cleveland

$24.00 - $35.00

This event is all ages

Greensky Bluegrass
Greensky Bluegrass
Greensky Bluegrass is Anders Beck (dobro), Michael Arlen Bont (banjo), Dave Bruzza (guitar), Mike Devol (upright bass) and Paul Hoffman (mandolin).

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 Nedarland, 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 ours 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.
Joshua Davis
Joshua Davis
Joshua Davis was raised in the folk tradition: the music, the social movements, the land. He writes songs that blend the roots of American music with gritty rock n’ roll and vintage soul. Performing Songwriter Magazine called the result, "Some of the liveliest and most rocking roots music around.

For over 15 years Joshua has made his living sharing his songs, stories and knowledge across the US and Canada at festivals, concert halls, coffeehouses and dives – as a solo act, front man for roots ensemble "Steppin’ In It", classic swing band "Shout Sister Shout", songwriter showcase band "The Starlight Six" and frequently as a workshop facilitator, presenter or instructor.

His music is steeped in ragtime blues, sweet jazz and real country but Davis’s broad schooling in the cultural, political and musical roots of American tradition has resulted in more than a simple retelling of universal themes. Dubbed, "the Michigan version of the Great American Songscape" (Chris Reitz, Elderly Instruments), his catalog is a seamless snapshot of American past and present. Joshua has shared stages with a diverse list of luminaries, such as Tim O’Brien, Greg Brown, The Indigo Girls, Leftover Salmon, The Dixie Hummingbirds, Corey Harris, John Gorka, Jeff Daniels, Ellis Paul, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Jimmy LaFave, Ray Bonneville, Arlo Guthrie, Abigail Washburn, Larry McCray, Sunny Wilkinson, Catie Curtis, Bill Kirchen, Peter "Madcat" Ruth, Bernie Leadon, Wayne Hancock, The Verve Pipe, John Hammond, Pete Seeger and Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Davis has released three critically acclaimed solo albums, five albums with Steppin’ In It, a record of jazz standards with Shout Sister Shout, and has appeared on too many albums to count. His most recent album, "A Miracle of Birds" is inspired by his travels in the Palestinian West Bank with non-profit organization On the Ground. About the album, Revue magazine says, "His heartfelt documentation of 'people as people' offers up compassionate songs of hope, darkness and perseverance."

Joshua has performed live on the internationally syndicated programs Mountain Stage, Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour and Backstage Pass. His songs have been featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered, Folk Alley and The Mix and he has played scores of prestigious festivals and venues not to mention every festival Michigan has to offer.

His music receives regular airplay across the US and has been heard in at least 180 countries. His records have consistently appeared on major independent and free-format radio charts. Among other honors, "Fool Rooster" earned the album of the year slot from Progressive Torch and Twang, a cult favorite Americana show on WDBM, "Magnolia Belles" won Americana album of the year from WYCE, "Simple Tunes for Troubled Times" was one of Folk Alley’s best albums of 2009 and Shout Sister Shout’s "Hit That Jive" reached #1 on the Roots Music Report jazz chart and was the longest charting jazz album of that year.

Davis has gained recognition as an enthusiastic and successful songwriting and guitar instructor and folk historian. He has studied under greats such as Guy Clark, Steve Earle, John Hartford, Greg Brown, Tim O’Brien, Lyle Lovett, Michael Smith, and Tom Paxton and Dr. Bruce Conforth as well as Bela Fleck, Casey Driessen, and Roy Book Binder.

Joshua is a respected producer and has built a small but excellent home studio, pointing to his work with Grammy and Oscar winning producers and audio engineers Glenn Brown, Sally Van Meter and David Glasser.

Josh is especially interested in the ways in which music brings individuals and communities together, to foster peace and understanding. He's noticed that songs can re-soundtrack people's lives and peoples' lives too. In February of 2012, he travelled to Palestine and Israel with non-profit org On the Ground to participate as "cultural emissary" in the Run Across Palestine, a fund raising ultra-marathon in support of fair trade farming communities in the West Bank.

Davis has just released “A Miracle of Birds”, an album inspired by his experience in the Holy Land. Half of the proceeds will mean olive trees and educational scholarships for the farmers and families he encountered during his travels. The songs are deeply personal and deal with his struggle between his Jewish identity and the oppression and confusion he found in the Middle East. Josh brings a unique program to schools and communities that combines his music and stories about the trip as well as club dates with a world-class six-piece band.

His greatest honor as a writer came recently when the Michigan Historical Museum recognized his work in "Put It On Paper", an exhibit examining the creative process alongside legendary creative minds such as Ernest Hemingway and Laura Ingalls-Wilder.

He lives in Traverse City, Michigan with his lovely and brilliant wife, daughter and new son.
Venue Information:
House of Blues - Cleveland
308 Euclid Ave
Cleveleand, OH, 44114
http://www.houseofblues.com/cleveland/