Sign up for newsletter
 

Greensky Bluegrass

All for the Money – 2019 (Big Blue Zoo)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Find it on Amazon

Subscribe to Country CD Reviews CD Reviews

CDs by Greensky Bluegrass

About two-and-a-half minutes into "All For Money," the title track of Greensky Bluegrass's album, things slow down considerably and goes all spacy. It's an approach one might expect if Bill Monroe had ever dropped acid. It's also at this moment we realize we're not in solely bluegrass country any longer.

Not everything here sounds like a Grateful Dead psych-out, though. "Courage for the Road" is a relatively traditional track, driven by bright banjo and Dobro. It also features some mighty fiery instrumental soloing. One can hear the inspiration of jam band music on this track, too.

Both lyrically and vocally, this album recalls a combination of Old Crow Medicine Show and The Avett Brothers. Like these two adventurers, Greensky Bluegrass pushes the envelope. Its five players have solid musical skills and know their way around traditional bluegrass music. However, they're also not afraid to have a little creative fun. The songs "Do Harm" and "What You Need" each work in elements of soul and R&B. This is not the contemporary radio-like stuff, though, but more along the lines of old school grooves - the ones that just feel so good on the ear.

With a name like Greensky Bluegrass, bluegrass will likely always be a part of what this act does. These gentlemen are from Michigan, the same state that gave us Jack White, so one imagines these guys soaked up a whole slew of different musical influences growing up - just as the White Stripes head did. "All For Money" is the sort of album that is a good gateway drug for rock fans willing to also lend their ears to traditional acoustic sounds. There are moments when "All For Money" is druggy, which is not a term most would ever associate with bluegrass. And these unusual associations are what make this project so noteworthy and memorable.