Logjam Presents

Greensky Bluegrass

Cris Jacobs

7:00pm (door) 8:00pm (show)
$22 (Adv.) $25 (DOS)
Add to Calendar 03/24/2017 20:00 03/24/2017 11:30 pm America/Boise Greensky Bluegrass

Logjam Presents & Trail 103.3 present progressive bluegrass quintet Greensky Bluegrass live in concert at The Wilma on Friday, March 24, 2017! Tickets go on sale at 10:00am on Friday, January 27 and will be available at The Top Hat, online or by phone at 877-987-6487. All tickets are general admission standing room only. All ages are welcome. For questions regarding ticketing, please email [email protected]  … Continue Reading

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Greensky Bluegrass

Logjam Presents & Trail 103.3 present progressive bluegrass quintet Greensky Bluegrass live in concert at The Wilma on Friday, March 24, 2017!

Tickets go on sale at 10:00am on Friday, January 27 and will be available at The Top Hatonline or by phone at 877-987-6487. All tickets are general admission standing room only. All ages are welcome.

For questions regarding ticketing, please email [email protected]

 

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.

FACEBOOK: Greensky Bluegrass at The Wilma 3/24/17

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.”

PHOTO: Greensky Bluegrass at The Wilma 11/12/15

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.”

PHOTO: Greensky Bluegrass at The Top Hat 2/26/14

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.

Cris Jacobs

Cris Jacobs Image

Whether alone with a guitar and his voice or surrounded by a full band, Cris Jacobs enchants listeners with inspired songwriting, unpretentious guitar virtuosity, soulful transcendence in his vocals, and a buoyant onstage camaraderie that makes every set feel like home. Artists across the board have discovered Jacobs’ musicianship and supple versatility, resulting in an impressive variety of formats in which he has played over the last several years.

 

After a decade, five records, and 200 shows a year as a principal songwriter and frontman for beloved Baltimore-based band The Bridge from 2001-2011, Jacobs wasted no time writing music of his own and exploring different configurations for his craft. In so doing, he has quickly garnered the admiration of a variety of predecessors and peers: rock legend Steve Winwood invited Jacobs to open his national tour in 2014. The following year, Sturgill Simpson extended the same invitation. Never limited by genre, Jacobs and New Orleans heavyweight Ivan Neville recorded a collaborative album “Neville Jacobs,” to be released in 2017. Jacobs also inspired bluegrass stalwart Audie Blaylock to record Jacobs’ “14 Days” on Blaylock’s 2013 album. As an adapting, evolving, versatile musician who has survived on his own merit, Jacobs continues to win over audiences of many tastes, as he brings his characteristic authenticity and soul to every set.

Jacobs feels there is a common thread across all genres of music and has harnessed over a decade a devoted trans-genre exploration on his second album, “Dust to Gold,” due for release on October 21, 2016 from American Showplace Records. The album is a well-crafted, soul- stirring expression of his current creative chapter, and reveals the depth of his exploration and the height of his ongoing evolution. In each of the album’s twelve songs, Jacobs has channeled the muse to reach into uncharted musical territory while conveying a deep connectedness to each song’s multi-genre roots.

“I know that the well I seek is bound to be the deepest of all been ever told
I know that to plant a seed is alchemy, we can watch the dust turn into gold”

So sings the refrain in “Turn into Gold,” the near-eponymous eighth track of the new album. The song is a moving masterpiece about channeling the “muse,” or the “source,” as Jacobs calls it. Fittingly, the lyrics came to Jacobs in one complete vision of words whose sounds slip smoothly over meanings that one must tap into one’s own form of “muse” to “understand.” It’s about the desire to be “enraptured in the mystery, the unknown, the questions, the answers all at once,” Jacobs describes. This is the place in which his songwriting occurs, and from where Jacobs’ performances derive so much electricity. In discussing the song’s inspiration, Jacobs reflects, “being engaged in that ‘unknown’ onstage can have this kind of alchemistic power on those that come in contact with me doing that. If I’m on stage and I’m really connected to the source and I’m really locked in and there’s a room full of people witnessing that, they in turn get locked into their own thing, and it’s this beautiful, ecstatic process that goes both ways. To me, this is the source of a lot of truth.” The song and Jacobs’ description of where it came from convey the absolutely ecstatic experience that is listening to his music, and especially, seeing him play live.

An improviser at heart, he brings the spirit of seeking and living in the moment to the stage each time; in every performance, he tries to push the envelope, exploring the depth of each song anew. Both live and on the album, Jacobs’ dynamic guitar playing and singing envelope you completely and instantly, transporting you into the rich, sultry folds of Jacobs’ soulful sound. Other songs on the album bring transcendence in a variety of forms. In “Cold Carolina,” Jacobs croons softly and emotively about a despondent relationship, the feeling of displacement, and the seeking of redemption, of salvation.

In “Little Dreamer,” Jacobs, accompanied by wife Kat Jacobs, sings sweetly to their unborn child, whom he discovered was on the way only moments before leaving to start recording the new album. “May your laughter be endless/ and may love take your breath away/ long live the spirit of your wild blue heart/ but always remember where you started, no matter where you are,” he sings to the tiny, nascent being. He wrote the poetic lullaby in twenty short minutes upon arriving at the studio.

The opening track, “The Devil or Jesse James,” is a rousing mixture of New Orleans Voodoo rhythm, blues, and rock and roll with ethereal tendrils of psychedelic guitar reaching out across the soundscape. The lyrics evoke the desire to change identities; to run away from one’s past.

On this album, the full band includes a richly funky rhythm section from Richmond, Virginia with Hammond Organ, featuring Todd Herrington on bass, Dusty Ray Simmons on drums, and keyboardist John Ginty, who has been a master side man for years, working with Jewel, Citizen Cope, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, and most currently, with The Dixie Chicks.

In concert, Jacobs continues to sell out local shows to a fan base that knows a richly authentic, and conveyed experience awaits regardless of that night’s configuration. Live performances are dynamic and exciting due to the range and depth of his guitar-playing; in a given moment, Jacobs’ playing is rootsy, gritty, soulful, beautiful, lyrical, and rich. It’s subtle, yet adventurous; lived-in, yet exploratory. His voice is at once sweet and sultry, smooth and textural, throaty and elegant. Through every note, one hears Jacobs’ connection to that elusive source of all that transcends definition.

We can only expect further evolution from Cris Jacobs, an artist constantly inspired by the exquisite daily struggle of the human condition, and a person committed to leaning into that struggle with an open heart. “My favorite part of being an artist is the journey itself,” Jacobs describes, “the vulnerability, the unknown, the riskiness, the constantly trying to reinvent yourself, the improvisation, the capturing of magical moments. It’s an approach I take in my live show, too.”

-Britt Starr