Photo by Dylan Langille

Seasoned roots rock band Greensky Bluegrass will kick off its spring tour in Charleston with two nights at the Woodlands Nature Reserve May 14 and 15. The band just released a new collection of songs, Leap Year Sessions Volume 2, curated from a series of livestreamed performances in 2020. The Greensky guys have been making music together so long they played eight full-length sessions without repeating a song. “It’s a shocking statistic to me as well, it feels like,” said upright bassist Mike Devol. He was grateful to reunite for the sessions after four months apart from his bandmates, Anders Beck (Dobro), Michael Arlen Bont (banjo), Dave Bruzza (guitar) and Paul Hoffman (mandolin).

“COVID has been a lot of conflicting lessons,” Devol said, but being able to enjoy time at home with his 3-year-old son has focused his direction. “This last year of being home with him at that age has been special. It makes me appreciate the balance I’m aiming to achieve with being home and being on a road.” For Devol, having live shows snatched away last year has highlighted their value. “I’m looking forward to really savoring it every time we’re on stage. You never know what’s going to happen. There’s not going to be any taking things for granted after COVID.” 

As times have changed, Devol has seen a lot of his peers in the music industry focus on their overall health, a concept that the management team at Charleston’s Woodlands Nature Reserve aligns with wholeheartedly. “Our goal is that people come here and feel better when they leave,” said Vince Iwinski, the music and events manager at the West Ashley venue that rambles over 6,000 acres off Ashley River Road. 

Iwinski aims to make Woodlands itself as much of a destination for audiences as the music itself. 

“It’s not just an open field in the middle of nowhere. The site itself isn’t just a backdrop but a part of the experience,” he said. And between the camping program, onsite lodging and recreation options including kayaking, hiking and biking, the Woodlands promises to immerse you in great tunes and in nature. 

“We want people to come early and stay late,” he said, describing Woodlands’ atmosphere. “It’s not just a place to crash after an event, but a place to thrive during the event and after the event.” 

Charleston’s Ear for Music entertainment company is bringing its Safe Sounds concept to the Woodlands, with the social-distanced pod format we’re all familiar with by this point.