Usually Cleveland Ohio is very cold & snowy this time of year, but the today weather is mild in comparison to what was about to heat up inside the House of Blues. Greensky Bluegrass has a lot of fans that travel to as many shows as possible. It was nice not having to brave harsh traveling conditions to start out Winter Tour. Arriving in town early to avoid rush hour traffic, I met up at a local bar to pre-party before the show.
Front Country was the opening band and immediately got the crowd moving & grooving with their unique sound. Having just recently moving their home base from San Francisco to Nashville, Front Country consists of lead singer/instrumentalist Melody Walker, Adam Roszkiewicz on mandolin, guitarist Jacob Groopman, violinist Lief Karlstrom & Jeremy Darrow on bass. Although I had previously seen them play at Rompfest 2016, I had forgotten how fresh & energizing their music was. You can definitely feel the bluegrass elements in their music, but there’s also influences from blues, soul, jazz & the Grateful Dead intertwined throughout. Of the 9 songs performed in their set of mostly originals (set list below), it was the opening notes of Don Henley’s “The Boys Of Summer” that got the audience to join in and sing along. Look for new music from Front Country in April.
Finally it was time for Greensky Bluegrass. Based out of Kalamazoo Michigan, the quintet has been playing together for more than 15 years. It has been less than 2 weeks since the Greensky new years shows but you couldn’t tell from the audience, which acted like it had been years. Opening with Jerry Garcia’s “ain’t No Bread In The Breadbox”, a communal spirit permeated the room the seemed to bring every one there as one. everyone was singing along, hugging each other and dancing in unison. The song list was a great mix of a few covers and originals including 6 songs from their just recently released “Shouted, Written Down, & Quoted”. My highlights for the evening were Flatt & Scruggs “Georgia Mail, “While Waiting”, “Demons”, Dave Bruzza’s “Take Cover”, “Jaywalking”, Prince’s “When Doves Cry” & “Casual Wednesday”. “Casual Wednesday” was lead by Anders Beck as he got the crowd chanting as the rest of the band jammed behind him. On their encore they covered Queen’s “We Will Rock You and finished with “Miss September” from their recently released CD.
Al in all, Cleveland was a great place to kick off winter tour. Front Country ignited the crowd early and the Greensky Bluegrass swooped in and kept everyone in a dancing frenzy for the rest of the evening. It doesn’t look like things will be cooling down for a while.
Here’s a link to all the pictures I took that evening:
Setlists are listed below pictures.
Front Country Setlist
- Lonesome Town
- Sake of the Sound
- Storms Are On The Ocean
- Rock Salt and Nails
- One Kind Word
- The Boys of Summer (Don Henley)
- Gold Rush Goddess
Greensky Bluegrass-Set 1
- Ain’t No Bread in the Breadbox
- More of Me
- Less Than Supper
- Georgia Mail (Flatt & Scruggs)
- Run Or Die
- While Waiting
- Midnight Mass For Albert > Dry County
- All 4
Greensky Bluegrass-Set 2
- Take Cover
- Burn Them
- Fixing To Ruin
- When Doves Cry (Prince)
- Casual Wednesday (Happy 18th birthday Devol’s niece)
- In Control
- Leap Year For The Ages
- We will Rock You (Queen)
- Miss September