The leaves have changed, the storms are rolling in, and Greensky Bluegrass played Lake Tahoe after a busy summer season. The five-piece bluegrass band made its regular autumnal stop at Crystal Bay Casino’s Crown Room on Friday, Nov. 4.
“We’ve essentially been on the road for the better part of the last two months,” banjo player Mike Bont said before the show. “We’re kind of wrapping up the last few weeks and we’re excited to be coming up and playing Tahoe.”
Greensky has been crisscrossing the country in support of the September release of its new album, “Shouted, Written Down and Quoted.” The album was produced by Steve Berlin, and recorded in both Ashville, North Carolina, and Nederland, Colorado
“It was a combination of those two sessions,” Bont said. “It was nice to get a big part of the recording done and then have a little break for the music to be able to breathe. To listen to it and sort of soak it in.
“I think it’s a pretty good little album. It feels like a continuation of “If Sorrows Swim.” It sounds very Greensky to me, it sounds like an album of us coming of age.”
Sixteen years into the group’s existence, the members of Greensky have put a great many hours into honing their craft, individually and as a whole.
“I think the lyrical content of the album is pretty heavy,” Bont said. “It has a very polished sound, instrumentally as well. We were able to have a couple sessions to go in there and discuss ideas and have a cool instrumental passage here or there. To have it composed but also sound un-composed, in a way.”
Vivisecting songs is a key part of the group’s approach to songwriting; take a concept, record a basic initial track, and then deconstruct it as a group.
“We take a song and then put it down and pick at it,” Bont said. “Parts that we like, parts that we don’t like, parts that might be missing that we haven’t even thought of yet.”
Until this fall, the music on the album has been largely unplayed by the band and entirely unheard by fans, making for a fresh change of pace that will provide lots of touring mileage next season.
“It’s really fun to finally be able to play these songs,” Bont said. “We think it sounds great I think we’re all really happy with the way it turned out.”
Greensky Bluegrass is looking forward to winding down its touring season.
“I love playing California this time of year. It’s been on our circuit for a few years now,” Bont said.
Crystal Bay, in particular, is a home away from home for the group. It has regularly appeared in the Crown Room for many years, ever since opening for Yonder Mountain String Band in the 2000s.
“As I refer to it, the usual,” Bont said with a chuckle. “We love coming there, man. We’ve been coming there for years. We love playing up at North Lake. Such a beautiful place to hang out and the people there are so great. I just like the whole scene up there.”