Greensky Bluegrass returns to Crystal Bay: Q&A covers new album and more
IF YOU GO …
What: Greensky Bluegrass
When: Friday, Sept. 8, 8 p.m.
Where: Crystal Bay Casino
Tickets: $25-$28, plus ticket fees
Michigan-based band Greensky Bluegrass returns to Tahoe’s North Shore with its blend of rock and bluegrass on Friday, Sept. 8, at 8 p.m.
The group, which formed nearly two decades ago, is known for its ability to mix genres and transcend classification. Prior to Greensky Bluegrass’ local gig, we chatted with banjo player and vocalist Mike Bont and asked what it’s like returning to the region, about the band’s new album (“Shouted, Written Down & Quoted”) and more.
ACTION: HAVE YOU BEEN TO TAHOE BEFORE, AND HOW ARE YOU LOOKING TO SPEND YOUR FREE TIME?
Bont: We’ve been to Tahoe many times. I have a little bit of spare time — I think Friday morning I’m going to play a round of golf with some friends of mine. Otherwise, you know we’re just in Tahoe for the show.
We’re excited to play at the Crystal Bay [Casino]; it’s been a good spot for us to play for many years now — I want to say 10 years. We opened up for Yonder Mountain String Band somewhere around 2006, 2007 or 2008, and that was our first show up there.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO WITH THIS CONCERT?
I’m excited to get back on the road. It’s been a busy summer playing festivals, but it’s a completely different scene than playing our own outright shows. We’re excited to play some music and see all the fans that are out there.
When you play a festival, a lot of times that’s where we get the people who haven’t seen us before. The first time that they might’ve seen us is at a festival, then they’ll come to our own show. At a festival there are a lot of people there to see us, but there’s a lot of potential for people to be there who haven’t heard us before or are seeing us for the first time. But at the Greensky show it’s all dedicated fans, which I think is super cool.
WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT FROM THE SHOW?
They’re going to hear some great songs, some awesome singing, some good improvisation and all the hits. A little bit of everything happens in our show; we draw from a lot of different genres and do our own thing.
HOW DOES YOUR NEWEST ALBUM COMPARE TO ONES FROM THE PAST?
It’s a continuation of what I’d refer to as the “Greensky sound.” I think “Handguns” was the first album people refer to as being very Greensky-sounding. That was continued on our previous album, “If Sorrows Swim,” and I feel like [“Shouted, Written Down & Quoted”] is a continuation — a bunch of new songs, and I think all the material is really good and well thought out.
People are liking it, and it’s a pretty good effort from us. I highly suggest you listen to it if you have not.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO PEOPLE WHO HAVEN’T HEARD YOUR MUSIC BEFORE?
Come see the show; I’m pretty sure you’ll like our band. Even if you don’t think you like bluegrass, you’ll like us. We are very un-bluegrass. Even though we play bluegrass songs sometimes, we are very un-bluegrass. People say all the time, “I don’t like bluegrass, but boy, you guys are awesome.”
WHERE IS THE MOST INTERESTING OR UNIQUE PLACE GREENSKY BLUEGRASS HAS PLAYED?
You know, Red Rocks is my favorite — in Colorado. We’re actually finishing off this tour playing there, and we’re pretty excited to be back. It’s one of those places you always think about playing as a musician, but never imagine that you’d be playing there. This is our fourth time back there, I think, and this is our own headlining show, so it’s really exciting as far as being in the band goes.
A special screening of the documentary “The Human Element” will be hosted Friday, Aug. 16, with an introduction by internationally acclaimed, award-winning photographer James Balog.