Michigan’s Greensky Bluegrass is finishing up the Colorado portion of their national tour with shows Friday and Saturday night at the Fox Theatre in Boulder.
Greensky Bluegrass is a well established bluegrass band with a refined sound that has been touring for over 12 years now. In the last year even they have added about 100,000 miles to their tour truck spreading their flavor a smooth bluegrass sound. From a recent press release: “Rolling Stone declared that Greensky Bluegrass are ‘representing the genre for a whole new generation.’ Pretty solid endorsement and a true statement; they’ve got the folk/songwriting aspect of Railroad Earth, they have the intensity of Leftover Salmon, and their own original, psychedelic swirl when they turn bluegrass into a rock band, all without a drummer.” I will see you at the show!
Bloggers note: Mountain Standard Time’s Mardi Grass shows culminate in Saturday’s concert at the Fox Theatre. A limited number of the new EP “Sunny” will be available for purchase at the shows. A special thanks to Vegan Patty for this review. By Vegan Patty Mountain Standard Time’s new EP “Sunny” is dangerously close to being just another easy listening coffee table album of blue(s)grass. It’s more Ansel Adams then Robert Mapplethorpe. That’s not bad, mind you. (Who would ever shun Adams in good conscience?) And like him, they’ve captured a classic sound, fiddled with their filters until just the right level of light shines through, and layered their work for the discerning ear. But, these days, I keep my Adams on the shelf, preferring to offer my guests something more modern to disrupt the day. The more I listen to “Sunny,” though, the more it has me thinking that some evenings, some moments, some people aren’t served by disruption. (Mapplethorpe did nearly kill the National Endowment for the Arts.) There’s comfort in classic. And that’s what makes “Sunny” worth a listen. Or a hundred.
This collection of new tracks is tightly produced and talent heavy. While the vibe of this EP borders on being familiar to the point of boredom—and the track order is a bit awkward—it shimmies along that edge with grace and playfulness. Like so many Colorado bands that honor Jerry and crew, MST runs their guitar like a lazy river, flush with a rush of spring snow thaw, tannin-rich and ticklish. They work their organ like, well, their organ. And their harmonies and lyrical contributions are as expected.
What wasn’t expected was the jazz house piano riffs that pepper the EP and push the genre and their audience in the process. “Katy Anne” is complicated. For a moment there, I forgot myself in 1974 in the shadows of Mitchell’s folky jazz classic “Court and Spark.” Jazz isn’t always the easiest companion to Jam; their on again, off again relationship has been long and rocky. Knowing this, MST is a skilled mediator and by the middle of the EP, they have these two genres cuddling much more than cursing as they negotiate their differences. Naked. The masterpiece of the set, without doubt, is “Guitar Playin’ Man.” Placed inconspicuously on the disc as track 6 of 7, it’s the song that I’m truly Grateful for. I won’t be the only one. And then there’s the sweet finish. “Forgotten For Rotten,” a lengthy rock operatic anthem, pulls this collection through jam-jazz and stitches it up precisely into the techno-colored ski jacket that is Prog. Rock. As a collection, “Sunny” feels like a best of. Better yet, Mountain Standard Time is kindly offering up some of their finest tracks to listeners as “pay what you want” downloads from their website. Trust me. You want.
Boulder audiences always love when local favorite The Great American Taxi rolls through town. They did that Friday night joined at the Fox Theatre by Poor Man’s Whiskey and Shannon McNally & Amy Lavere: Chasing the Ghost. The place was jumping early and kept going late into the night. I believe GAT is better with every show and Poor Man’s Whiskey is my new favorite San Fransisco band. Here are a few photos from the night and a short video of a Poor Man’s Whiskey jam. Enjoy.
Great American Taxi Snowball Tour continues through Colorado and Tonight in Denver.
March 2013 will mark eight years that Great American Taxi (GAT) has been touring across our land offering musical rides with their Americana flavored bluegrass, rock and country sound. Born of a charity event in 2005 the band was assembled for a one-of performance when someone accidentally named the band. Now with three studio albums (“Streets of Gold”, ”Reckless Habits” and “Paradise Lost”) and a thousand performances under their belt, The Great American Taxi is still rolling strong.
Great American Taxi is Vince Herman (vocals, guitar, mandolin), Chad Staehly (keys, vocals), Jim Lewin (guitar, vocals), Chris Sheldon (drums, vocals) and Brian Adams (bass, vocals).
Keyboardist Chad Staehly elaborates on the band’s first show, “We were only supposed to be a band for one show. It was for a rainforest action group benefit show. The rainforest action group from CU Boulder had reached out to me to put a band together with Vince for a benefit show at the Boulder Theater. I think that was March 10, 2005. And then the band got accidentally named for the one show. And now over a thousand shows later, here we are.”
The band’s “Great American Snowball Tour 2013,” kicked off in Alaska and continues tonight at the 320 South in Breckenridge. The tour, offering eight Colorado dates, will visit Crested Butte, Breckenridge, Boulder, Denver, Vail, Fort Collins and Steamboat Springs.
Every GAT show is different and unscripted. Fronted by entertainer, storyteller, vocalist and guitarist Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon fame, the band seems to draw its momentum and inspiration from the audience. “Most nights there’s not a set list.” Said Staehly, ”We like to let the environment and the audience and everything kind of dictate what we play. We love to leave the door open for sweet little moments. Whether it’s a train going by or someone yells out a song that they want to hear, or whatever, we really like to leave the door wide open for those sorts of things to happen.”
GAT plans to work on another studio album later this year and will be recording some of the Colorado shows for a possible live album. “We’re going to be live tracking three of the shows in Colorado that we hope to turn into a live release,” said Staehly. “I would think by the end of the year we’re going to start working on a new studio album.”
Born out of Boulder GAT really enjoys performing for Colorado audiences. ”Everyone except Jim, our guitar player, has been around the Colorado area for a good twenty years.“ said Staehly. “You know there’s a lot of friends and family that get up for the shows, and we get to play at home there. Everyone played in other projects before Taxi. So you start adding all those things together, and they create a really cool community of people that gather together for a Taxi show.”
Hot Soup’s Matt Flaherty has found the lost Mayan calendar and plans to reveal it at Friday’s Fox Theatre Hot Soup concert, that is unless it you don’t buy a ticket and then … all bets are off. The world just may come to an end. Teaming up with the Dead Phish Orchestra this will be a fun evening with a couple of great local bands. It is even Flaherty’s birthday and the night he will kiss the twenties good bye.
This is our pick for the evening’s Boulder entertainment. I know there is cool stuff going on down in Denver too but you will find me at the Fox!