Hearing Aide: Greensky Bluegrass’ “Shouted, Written Down & Quoted”

Bluegrass is generally known for its solid Americana roots, sans drums, crammed with banjo licks, crisp acoustic guitar and deep bass tones that glue the melodies together. Greensky Bluegrass has taken the core idea of the typical bluegrass style and spiced it up with a twist of tones that bridge the gap between Americana and a rock flavor to create a perfectly balanced jam grass album.

Shouted, Written Down & Quoted starts off with an immediate bang that captures the attention of the listener without even trying. “Miss September” dives right in, showing off the beauty of Paul Hoffman’s lyrical and vocal talent.  Heavy on mandolin, this welcome tune eases the listener into the album before “Past My Prime” turns into a more serious ride. Anders Beck dances his fingers around the dobro, creating a gritty tone that craftily weaves around banjo and guitar strokes that are masterfully injected within this track, reflecting the no holds barred attitude.

A tender “While Waiting” winds through crisp guitar that gently carries the melody with touches of dobro and banjo, once again, dropping in just the right place, creating a beautiful tune. An energetic “Run or Die” rolls along with a quick pace before easing into one of the most tender songs they’ve ever created. “Room Without A Roof” was written by guitarist Dave Bruzza for his wife. Elegant lyrics sung in Bruzza’s deeper vocal tone practically bring the listener to tears as this polished melody is delicately moving and gracefully produced.

Taking the listener out of the sublime trance from the previous track, “Hold On” picks up the energy at just the right time. Dripping in Michael Bont’s banjo notes that carry the tune along with bending acoustics from Beck’s dobro, this uplifting track puts a smile on the face and instinctively has toes tapping to the beat.  The album title also makes its appearance among the lyrics, so listen closely before they quickly pass by.

The lyrics within “Merely Avoiding” paint a picture so many have experienced of starting over after moving on from a relationship. Afterwards, the hard hitting track “Living Over” rolls along with deep bass laid out by Michael Devol as clean mandolin notes play along with the guitar and intense dobro action, delivering a stellar melody crammed with an edgier rockin’ energy. “More of Me” eases along with a gentle flow. Carrying the listener on waves of emotion, the instrumental melodies sing the story as the lyrics carry the song across suspenseful ups and downs.

Bluegrass roots are firmly planted in “Fixin’ To Ruin.” Playfully intertwining the specialties of each musician, this track is stocked solid with the classic energy bluegrass fans have come to love. “Take Cover” carries the album to a smooth finish, fittingly ending with this quick paced bluegrass tune.

Teetering on the verge of bluegrass, jam and straight up rock, Greensky Bluegrass continues to keep fans captivated by their unique energy. The tracks off this new album leave plenty of room to stretch out and playfully explore during live performances. Don’t let the bluegrass part of their name fool you.  Listeners are in for a hell of a ride with their new album, especially when performed onstage. For more information on Greensky Bluegrass, along with dates for their upcoming winter tour, please visit their official website.

Key Tracks: Miss September, Room Without A Roof, Living Over