Sound studio

Greensky Bluegrass Expands Sound With Epic ‘Stress Dreams’

In an interview with Local Spins, guitarist Dave Bruzza talks about the new album and the 2022 tour. Plus, listen to the Local Spins on WYCE podcast, featuring new tracks debuting from Michigan artists.

‘Quite the Process’: Songwriting for Greensky Bluegrass’ new ‘Stress Dreams’ began in early 2020. (Photo/Anna Sink)

SCROLL DOWN FOR RADIO SHOW AND FULL PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH BRUZZA

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When Kalamazoo is Green Kentucky bluegrass started “as a fun thing to do” with regular jams over two decades ago at Bell’s Brewery and Grand Rapids’ Radio Tavern, the band members were just learning the ropes of bluegrass.

The idea of ​​becoming a nationally acclaimed bluegrass powerhouse that went around the world was not part of the plan – if there was even a plan.

“There was no intention from the beginning to do what we were doing,” conceded guitarist Dave Bruzza, who is actually a drummer at heart.

Kalamazoo Native: Dave Bruzza says West Michigan remains a special place for Greensky Bluegrass. (Photo/Anna Sink)

“It’s definitely turned into something. I am extremely grateful for the life I had. I am 41 years old and 21 years of career. …I’ve slept in all 50 states. It’s quite impressive!

Greensky’s epic and unexpected journey as a band is also reflected in the epic and unexpected title track of the band’s new studio album, “Stress Dreams,” which will be released on January 21.

Written by bassist Mike Devol, the eight-minute psychedelic progressive bluegrass gem is enhanced by the stunning addition of beautiful organ and piano work by holly skittles, member of the group Ghost Light and frequent collaborator of Phil Lesh.

“We always joke that she’s the sixth member of the band,” Bruzza told Local Spins in an interview from her home in Denver, Colorado.

“She’s just an amazing musician and an amazing person. It was just right. It really was the perfect track to play and collaborate with.

Scroll down to listen to the title track and “Absence of Reason” from the new album as part of this week’s Local Spins on WYCE radio show podcast. Watch a video for the album track “Grow Together” here.

VIDEO: Greensky Bluegrass, “Growing Together”

What Bruzza describes as “a very visual song” on the new album isn’t the only surprise on a 13-track recording that was a long time coming, as band members began writing and sharing demos in early 2020. when the pandemic took hold. .

They finally met in Colorado in August of that year to “take a closer look” at the songs, then began recording at Guilford Sound in Vermont in late September 2020. They eventually wrapped things up with two sessions at Echo Mountain Recording in Asheville, NC, with the album co-produced by two Michigan natives: Dominique John Davis (Jack White) and Glenn Brown.

SO UNIQUE ‘COMING FROM A SMALL TOWN LIKE KALAMAZOO AND DOING THESE THINGS’

While Bruzza calls it “a really good collection of songs” that “work together”, there’s no underlying theme like some of the band’s previous albums.

“It’s a bit different because we recorded so many songs that didn’t make it onto the record,” he noted, conceding that putting together “Stress Dreams” was “quite a process” in due to the challenges of the ongoing pandemic.

It’s also why the band members – Bruzza, Devol, mandolinist Paul Hoffman, banjoist Michael Bont and Dobro player Anders Beck – are so excited to hit the road again, with a busy 2022 ahead. to come.

A first tour with The Infamous Stringdusters begins on January 20 in Albany, NY, before heading to Michigan for a concert on February 18 at The Fillmore Detroit.

The Boys in the Band: Greensky Bluegrass has a busy winter on the road. (Publicity photo)

A host of high-profile festival appearances are also on the way, including a return to Michigan for June’s Camp Greensky Music Festival (which the band is hosting) and appearances at MerleFest in North Carolina, Telluride. Bluegrass Festival in Colorado, High Sierra Festival in California, and Northwestern Ropes Summit in Oregon.

“It will be really nice to come back and play,” Bruzza said, noting that live shows are essential for the mental health of band members and fans alike. “Like everyone else, we have to work. It’s my livelihood, along with the rest of the crew and the organization.

The band, understandably, has a special affection for its Michigan shows and fan base. Last summer, Greensky held a three-night mini-fest at Shagbark Farm outside of Caledonia, then played his traditional two-night stand at the State Theater in Kalamazoo over Thanksgiving weekend.

While Bont is the only band member still residing in Kalamazoo, Bruzza has made it clear that Greensky is still a band from Kalamazoo.

“Coming from a small town like Kalamazoo and going out and doing these things, it’s really unique. Kalamazoo is a special place,” said Bruzza, who grew up in Kalamazoo.

“Coming back to Michigan is always really, really special.”

Before that, of course, Greensky will release “Stress Dreams,” the band’s first full studio album since 2019’s “All for Money.”

And Michigan fans who have long followed this beloved Kalamazoo outfit will surely adopt these lyrics from “Grow Together”:

‘No matter how far I’ve come/Still the same on my mind/That we can grow old together/If we can find the time.’

PODCAST: Dave Bruzza – The Complete Local Spins Interview

This week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE – which features regional music at 11 a.m. Friday on WYCE (88.1 FM) and online at wyce.org – also featured new music from Chirp, John Piatek & Friends, Jake Kershaw, Paul Creason, Big Timmy & The Heavy Chevys and Pajamas, as well as pieces of Full Cord, Porter Kenyon and Third rib swing. Listen to the radio show here.

PODCAST: Local tours on WYCE (01/14/22)

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