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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Greensky to kick of tour in Madison: an interview with Anders Beck of Greensky Bluegrass

Greensky Bluegrass’ dobro and lap steel guitarist Anders Beck is gearing up for their upcoming 42 date cross-country tour.

The band has a unique sound that has been forged by learning how to play bluegrass—putting a personal spin on it.

“We all sort of got into the music through that,” Beck said. “Probably more the jam band side of it, but I think it’s really important to note while that was our entrance, we all did go back to the traditional bluegrass guys and study all that stuff and learn how to play the music right.

Because you know bluegrass is weird like that, there is a right way and a wrong in traditional bluegrass. And so, we all kind of went back and learned how to play the music right and then it was possible to take all of our other influences, all of our outside of bluegrass influences like the jam bands or jazz or whatever and put those back into the music to create our own thing.”

Beck himself comes from a strict jam band background.

“I am strictly from the school of Grateful Dead and Phish,” Beck said. “And that is how I have always been … I don’t know any music from the ’90s really, because all I listened to is Grateful Dead and Phish.”

Since he joined the band in 2008, Beck has become no stranger to the road.

“We’re kind of one of those bands … where the way that this kind of works in the long term is really by creating a word of mouth thing,” Beck said. “We’re not going to be on TV any time soon, probably, so playing shows is the way that we grow as a band and gain fans one by one or ten by ten or whatever.”

But even for a band as road-tested as Greensky Bluegrass (playing about 175 shows a year for the past few years), this upcoming tour is the largest.

“This tour coming up,” Beck said, “is certainly going to be the biggest and longest we’ve ever done.”

Sometimes it is the little things that keep you going on the road. For Beck and the rest of the band, it is a Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake City called the Red Iguana.

“We will drive,” Beck said, “maybe hundreds of miles out of our way if we have to in order to go eat breakfast, lunch or dinner there.”

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At the end of this 42-date tour is a two-night stand at Bell’s Brewery in the band’s hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

“It’s interesting going home and playing at Bell’s, which is our home venue,” Beck said. “The band’s been playing there for over 10 years in some form or another. It’s really cool to come home and play at the end of a really long tour ... the people at home that are kind of super-fans of the band, and have been seeing these shows and seeing the band play for ten years and are really into it musically and pay lots of attention.”

Although this tour will be long and grueling, it opens up in one of their favorite places play: Madison.

“We love playing in Madison,” Beck said. “I’m really excited to kick off this tour there, because it’s usually always been a very rowdy show, which is what we love… Madison definitely seems to love bluegrass or jamgrass or whatever the hell you’re supposed to call us, and so I’m super excited for the show. They are always really packed and the crowd is always super into the music.”

Greensky Bluegrass will take the stage at the Majestic Theater at 9 p.m., Sept. 12.

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