Festivals have their moments – times when schedules and inspirations align and bluegrass magic is the result. One of these moments happened during the “Nightgrass” set of Greensky Bluegrass at the 40th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
Throughout the early and mid-2000s, Greensky Bluegrass Dobro player, Anders Beck, was a part of a band that has been called the official farm team of modern-day bluegrass. They were, The Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band. Joining Anders for these storied – and in many circles – legendary years were Travis Book (bass player for the Infamous Stringdusters), Robin Davis (the under the radar musician of today’s bluegrass generation), Andy Thorn (banjo player for Leftover Salmon) and Jon Stickley (respected by everyone in the industry as a top guitarist). Now you can see how this farm team delivered.
During a late night pick on the stage of Telluride’s Palm Theater, the band mates of Greensky Bluegrass gave the nod to their sliding steel brother-in-arms and helped bring Broke Mountain together again. Before describing the very classy way that this was done, I’d like to mention that the reunion of friends happened in the midst of a stellar Greensky Bluegrass show and it speaks volumes of the band – and their appreciation of friendships and bluegrass history – to hand their stage over.
A jam came out of a Greensky song that had the crowd entranced by acoustic rhythm. One by one the members of Broke Mountain walked out on stage and the appropriate instrument was put into their hands by a member of Greensky Bluegrass. The jam continued without pause and within moments the fortunate crowd was watching The Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band. The band ended the jam and dove into one of their popular numbers from all those years back, All That I Can Take, penned by Andy Thorn. Jamming the song out in its end, Greensky Bluegrass then returned to the stage in the same fashion that they had left: one by one with instrument being handed off with respect and friendship.
These moments are what make such festival gatherings unique. Yes, often it’s being in the right place at the right time, but that’s part of the mystique and what keeps the fans coming back again and again for more.