Shouted, Written Down & Quoted
Big Blue Zoo Records
When Sam Bush started New Grass Revival in 1971- based upon hearing John Hartford’s groundbreaking Aereo-Plain– he had no idea what in the world he started. Called “progressive bluegrass” now, it wove strands of rock and pop music into old-time and bluegrass to create something entirely new, yet built on the past. In the years since the genre has exploded, with large bands of bearded banjo and mandolin players showing up on festival stages and causing Grateful Dead-level enthusiastic dancing and intense mellowing.
But sadly, along the way, a lot of bands forgot what Bush and the Dead did primarily- which is write great songs. Sure, for every “Dark Star” 30 minute freakout, you had a “Casey Jones”. Greensky Bluegrass didn’t forget- and their newest, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted portrays a band that can both write a catchy tune…and jam your face off. Opening with “Miss September” and following it up with “Past My Prime”, GB has both the lyrical instincts to craft a memorable tune- they are known as a “rock and roll band with no drummer”- as well as having chops galore. The group- Anders Beck on dobro, Michael Arlen Bont on banjo and vocals, guitarist Dave Bruzza, bassist Michael Devol and Paul Hoffman on mandolin and vocals- matches anyone around technique-wise, and the record shows their varied moods. “While Waiting” is a pensive reflection of a man taking stock of his life, while “Run or Die” is driven by Beck’s Dobro and a hummable chorus.
Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is Greensky Bluegrass’s sixth studio album, the first since 2014’s If Sorrows Swim debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Top Bluegrass chart, and if there is any justice, the new one will achieve wide recognition for the stellar songwriting, melt your shoes jamming, and general good times found within. Waitin’ for a miracle? Wait no more.