Best Grass Growth: Greensky Bluegrass
Greensky Bluegrass won the competitive Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition a decade ago, sparking a career that's converted thousands who "don't usually like bluegrass." The group's sound is pure jamgrass, the amalgamation of wide-reaching experimentation and traditional instrumentation. That in the span of 10 years the quintet has gone from on-the-verge to headlining act is a testament to its songwriting ability and loyal fanbase (last year's winners, the Lil' Smokies, seem to be carrying the same amount of heat). Although Greensky's late-night show was the hottest ticket of the festival, it was their mainstage set that raised the bar: Dobro master Jerry Douglas and the King of Telluride himself, Sam Bush, joined the band for several numbers. The standout was a 20-minute rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "The Ballad of Curtis Loew," which segued into the Greensky original "Don't Lie," with Douglas jamming alongside Greensky's Dobro player Anders Beck. For Beck, who has memories of Telluride Bluegrass that even predate Greensky, the set was nothing short of epic.