Greensky Bluegrass and Elephant Revival Perform at the Door Community Auditorium

Greensky Bluegrass will perform at Door Community Auditorium on Sept. 15. Photo by Jamie Van Buhler.

Take one spin through Greensky Bluegrass’s recent album Handguns, and you’ll know what banjo player Michael Bont is talking about when he says it sounds like home. Listening gives you that swollen-heart homecoming feeling, like sitting around Nana’s table at Thanksgiving.

“I think Handguns is one of the first times we were all really happy with something we recorded,” said Bont. “It was one of those weird albums that tells a story in a way. You can listen to it in its entirety and it takes you through this big, virtual landscape of music. I can see where that would be very soothing, a feeling of home almost, where the music’s not frightening even though the subject matter often is.”

Or maybe the feeling comes from the band’s Midwest vibe. You can picture them sitting on faded living room furniture during a Michigan snowstorm picking through classic bluegrass tunes and collaborating on some of their own.

Greensky Bluegrass isn’t just traditional bluegrass – even the band’s name implies a twist on the genre.

“It’s more than just bluegrass – it’s all of our brains coming together and trying to create something new,” Bont said.

The band’s audience isn’t traditional, either. Greensky Bluegrass plays the classic tunes that appeal to purists looking that perfect cover of “Freeborn Man,” and experiments with rock songs on bluegrass instruments to beckon rock and roll lovers to the stage.

Bont said a Greensky Bluegrass show is like an entry point into the genre, and even committed fans always hear something new.

“It’s not like you go see your favorite band and they play the same 10-song set every night of the week, so you see them twice and you’ve seen the same show twice,” he said. “A lot of times we don’t really write set lists, we just go by how we feel or the way we feel the audience is pushing the show.”

Greensky Bluegrass started organically around 2000 in Kalamazoo, Mich., when some friends picked up instruments and learned how to play bluegrass. They went to local open mics, met more musicians and started playing gigs.

“It’s one of those rare music forms where you can just get together, you don’t have to bring amps or have power or a drum set,” Bont said. “You can just hang together and play music… There’s this language everybody speaks. If you know a song, everybody knows it. You eventually just learn that language.”

But Greensky Bluegrass created a language of its own.

“We’ve kind of moved on since we learned our instruments and played our bluegrass stuff,” Bont said. “We’ve moved on to other kinds of music and I think that’s influenced our sound and changed it a little bit.”

Greensky Bluegrass will show off that sound at the Door Community Auditorium on Sunday, Sept. 15 at 7 pm with Elephant Revival.

If you check out the show, make sure to heed Bont’s advice:

“With the combination of us and Elephant Revival you might want to bring an extra change of clothes with you just in case, because when all your clothes get blown off during the show it’d be good to have an extra change in the car.”

For more information about Greensky Bluegrass, visit

For tickets, call 920.868.2728, visit, or stop by the DCA box office.