Fort Collins band Good Gravy uses two drummers and an electric mandolin to push its bluegrass roots to new musical horizons. The band plays Saturday at Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill.

Courtesy photo

Fort Collins band Good Gravy uses two drummers and an electric mandolin to push its bluegrass roots to new musical horizons. The band plays Saturday at Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill.

Good Gravy creates tasty bluegrass grooves

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Past Event

Good Gravy, jam rock and bluegrass

  • Saturday, May 16, 2009, 10 p.m.
  • Mahogany Ridge Brewery & Grill, 435 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs
  • Not available / $5

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— When percussionist Kyle Vanbuskirk joined the Fort Collins bluegrass band Good Gravy, the group ran into a problem: traditional bluegrass acts don't have a drummer; with Vanbuskirk, Good Gravy had two.

"When that happened, there's really not a whole lot a percussion player can do in a bluegrass band," Vanbuskirk said. The change ended up working well - Good Gravy's set now is closer to a jam band, dipping into genres from rock to electro dance.

"I kind of pushed us into a more dance kind of theme and more genres of music, because that's really what I can add," Vanbuskirk said.

The band plays a blend of funk, jazz, rock and electronic music - all rooted in the bluegrass tradition that started Good Gravy, all influenced by growing up on diverse music festivals - Saturday at Mahogany Ridge. Vanbuskirk talked with 4 Points about pushing genre norms aside and sacrificing a set to the whims of a crowd.

4 POINTS: How did Good Gravy land on the sound it has now?

KYLE VANBUSKIRK: Our roots come from bluegrass, so most of our songs are in the style of bluegrass. But we do a lot of other styles of music - electronica, we do a lot of funk and jazz - and we kind of blend a lot of different styles together and reach out to a lot of different crowds.

(We like) to be able to play a show and afterward see different people who picked out a part of a show that they liked or they can relate to - something that was enjoyable to them. And at the same time we're just playing what we like and what sounds good to us.

4 POINTS: What does having two drummers do for a band with bluegrass roots?

KV: People think that it adds a lot of texture and it adds a lot of style, and I guess what we can play and what we can get across musically is not as limited. So we're just trying to keep our horizons as open as possible as far as what can we play and how can we play it. : It has opened the door to other things that we can do as a band.

4 POINTS: How did that sound develop after you joined the band?

KV: They had a lot of original songs written, so we just kept them the same, but we would just jam out in the middle of it, and we would go into a real thick electronica drum-and-bass jam. : That's kind of how it started, and we've kind of gotten to the point where we are starting to write more songs that aren't based out of bluegrass, but have bluegrass connected somewhere in the song. :

We're looking to really broaden our experience as far as being able to mesh together all kinds of different sounds, and we're getting there.

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