(SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ) -- Greensky Bluegrass brought their tour to Seaside Heights on August 13, 2022 and The Wood Brothers, who have been touring with Greensky, opened the night. Photographer Chris Paul was there to take photos.
Dubbed "masters of soulful folk" by Paste, The Wood Brothers formed after brothers Chris and Oliver Wood pursued separate musical careers for 15 years. Chris already had legions of devoted fans for his incomparable work as one-third of Medeski Martin &Wood, while Oliver toured with Tinsley Ellis before releasing a half-dozen albums with his band King Johnson. With drummer Jano Rix added as a permanent third member, it's become quite clear that The Wood Brothers is indeed the main act.
Their latest release, Kingdom In My Mind, followed 2018’s One Drop Of Truth, which hit #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart and garnered the band their first GRAMMY Award-nomination for Best Americana Album. NPR praised the record’s “unexpected changes and kaleidoscopic array of influences,” while Uncut hailed its “virtuosic performances and subtly evocative lyrics,” and Blurt proclaimed it “a career-defining album.” Tracks from the record have racked up roughly 8 million streams on Spotify alone, and the band took the album on the road for extensive tour dates in the US and Europe, including their first-ever headline performance at Red Rocks, two nights at San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore (captured on their 2019 release, Live At The Fillmore), and festival appearances everywhere from Bonnaroo to XPoNential.
Here are a few photos from The Wood Brothers' set.
Since their 2000 formation in Kalamazoo, MI, Greensky Bluegrass, composed of the quintet — Anders Beck [dobro], Michael Arlen Bont [banjo], Dave Bruzza [guitar], Mike Devol [upright bass], and Paul Hoffman [mandolin]— have unassumingly progressed into a phenomenon on their own terms with the undying support of a devout audience. Rolling back and forth across North America on successive tours, they recently sold out 3 nights at Red Rocks, a feat unheard of in their genre. Scroll down for photos from their set.
As always, the band embraces tradition while ushering bluegrass forward on their eighth full-length offering, Stress Dreams. "Greensky is and always has been very unique in our world," observes Paul. "We put our love, energy, and focus into what we appreciate about our music. We come together as a band in a way that's organic. We take a lot of pride in how we grow and challenge each other too. We're maturing together. I think we get more Greensky all of the time."
They took advantage of the time to become "more Greensky" in 2020. After touring ceased in the face of the global pandemic, the band hunkered down and compiled demos individually at first, sharing emails and voice notes. In July 2020, they got together for the first time in four months, dedicating rehearsals to the development of the new material. Once circumstances safely permitted, they recorded what would become Stress Dreams during a session in Gilford, VT and two sessions in Asheville, NC. The band co-produced with frequent collaborator "and old friend" Dominic John Davis (Jack White's touring and studio bassist) and "wizard engineer" and grammy-winning producer Glenn Brown. They preserved the hallmarks of their sound while widening its expanse.
"It didn't feel like we were squeezing this project into the schedule," says Mike. "The lack of gigs gave us the freedom to get together solely to work on this. It was a relaxed environment. There wasn't the pressure of time; the songs got space to breathe."
Here are photos from Greensky Bluegrass' set.