In early 2013, the Kalamazoo, Michigan-based band Greensky Bluegrass took over the tiny, 100-capacity venue Tonic Room in Chicago’s Lincoln Park for a secret, one-night-only concert celebrating the venue’s 10th anniversary. It was the smallest room the group, which formed in 2000, had played in many years – a fact not lost on the band, though it seemed clearly energized by the intimacy of the event. In August, Greensky joined Railroad Earth and The Wood Brothers for its second appearance at Colorado’s nearly 10,000-capacity Red Rocks Amphitheatre.In recent years, the band has also performed at major festivals, including Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits Festival, Bumbershoot and Outside Lands. In September, Greensky will look to add another notch to its belt when it releases its fifth studio album, If Sorrows Swim, on its own label, Big Blue Zoo. The group has been steadily growing its reputation since it snagged a last-minute spot – and then ended up winning – the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Competition in 2006. Along with Railroad Earth, Colorado’s Yonder Mountain String Band and Charlottesville, Virginia’s The Infamous Stringdusters, it’s one of a group of bands whose music falls outside traditional bluegrass, incorporating elements of rock, folk and funk, appealing to a wide range of fans, especially in the jam-band world. These bands have grown their audiences through heavy touring and do-it-yourself business practices like running their own labels. In a sense, they are similar to Phish and The Grateful Dead, bands that paved the way for a new music model outside of the typical major-label and radio paradigms. What does the new music economy – which, in the first half of 2014, saw download sales decrease for the first time while streaming revenues... Sign In to Keep Reading
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