Blue Highway

BLUE-HIGHWAYBlue Highway
By Tom Netherland

Bristol, Va.—Down the hall, inside a curio cabinet within the suburban home of Wayne Taylor rests an award for Album Of The Year from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). That award sealed the fate for Blue Highway as a full-time recording and touring band. “At the IBMAs in ’96, I thought we had a chance to win Emerging Artist, but man, when we won Album Of The Year, it blew us away,” Taylor said. “That first album pretty much paved the way for everything else that’s happened since.”

Hurricane Reign?

   First came Blue Highway’s formation, the germ of which began about four years beforehand. “The first time I ever saw Wayne was when he was in the Tim Laughlin Band in about 1992 or so,” Tim Stafford recalled. “I was impressed with his bass playing. He wasn’t flashy, but he knew timing.” Fresh from winning a Grammy with (and exiting from) Alison Krauss’ Union Station, Stafford later found himself in Nashville and, again, in the company of Taylor. Somewhat renowned throughout Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee’s local bluegrass circle by then, Taylor worked by day as a driver of a coal truck and played bluegrass whenever time afforded the opportunity. Upon discovery of considerable common musical ground, Stafford and Taylor devised a group.

“Tim and I talked about putting some local musicians together and just playing around home, maybe do an album,” Taylor said. “Shawn Lane was the first guy to come on board. Then Rob Ickes came on with us and then Jason Burleson.” Upon agreement of a band to be, other than a bluegrass agenda, the band had nothing by way of a blueprint for the future. They simply wanted to play music as best they could.

“We didn’t have all of these big plans and goals,” Lane says. “We just love music—a lot of the same types of music. I don’t think it would have lasted a long time if we had it all written down and structured. It’s one day at a time for all of us. We just let it happen like it’s supposed to happen.” Read entire article »

Blue Highway
By Tom Netherland

Standing The Test Of Time
Japan’s Bluegrass 45 At Fifty
By Gary Reid

Savage Fiddler Annie Savage — Opens The Gateway To Bluegrass
By Daniel Boner

Tracy Schwarz
By Craig Harris

Black Diamond Strings
Family Of Florida Stringmakers Continues A Musical Legacy
Dating Back To 1890
By Vicki Dean

Letters
General Store
Notes & Queries
National Bluegrass Survey
Reviews
Personal Appearance Calendar
Classified Ads
Advertiser Index

Subscribe today!

 

Bluegrass Survey

Top Album for July

IN THE GROUND,
GIBSON BROTHERS,
Rounder 00173


Top Song for July

BLUE COLLAR DREAMS BALSAM RANGE (Aaron Bibelhauser) MOUNTAIN VOODOO, Mountain Home 16732

July 2017 Reviews

LLUIS-GOMEZ

LLUIS GOMEZ DOTZE CONTES Red Pig Recordings D.L. Bl/21/1917 Gomez claims he is the king of Spanish banjo. He is a mighty fine banjo player by anyone’s account. Able to play Scruggs-style, along with a highly developed melodic approach, there seems to be no end to Gomez’s imagination. Through 13 cuts, we’re treated to many […]

Read full review »
COLEBROOK-ROAD

COLEBROOK ROAD HALFWAY BETWEEN Colebrook Road CBR 002    No halfway about it. This is one of the most interesting and enjoyable albums from a young band that I’ve spun in nearly four decades of being a reviewer. This Harrisburg, Pa., outfit has a real synergy, both vocally and instrumentally, between its five talented and consistently […]

Read full review »
JENNI-LYN

JENNI LYN BURN ANOTHER CANDLE Katherine St. Records 001 Jenni Lyn Gardner, now touring and recording as Jenni Lyn during a break from work with her main band Della Mae, has quickly established herself as a rising star on mandolin and as a performer. Displaying a hard-driving style that evokes musical images of her hero […]

Read full review »
Molly-&-Tenbrooks

MOLLY AND TENBROOKS THE OLD MANDOLIN Woodsong Records No Number By the time this CD reached my desk, Molly And Tenbrooks were no more. Two of the members had departed, and the remnants reconstituted themselves as the Brown’s Mountain Boys. Let this, then, be a review-in-memorium. Molly And Tenbrooks came from Spokane, Wash., and featured […]

Read full review »
LAWSON-&-WILLIAMS

LAWSON & WILLIAMS CHAPTER 3 Mountain Home MH16722 Two old friends return here for a program of fine older songs. They reprise past glories from long careers of making music. The duets ring true and the music walks the line between bluegrass and older country. The use of brushes on a snare drum is reminiscent […]

Read full review »
MOON-TROTTERS

THE MOON TROTTERS Patuxent Music CD-277 The Moon Trotters, a two man/two woman ensemble, jam together on this new 13-song self-titled disc. Luke Barnhill (vocals, guitar, fiddle, and cajón), Victor Furtado (banjo), Isabella Gorman (fiddle), and Lauren Wasmund (vocals) tackle some new compositions like “Victor Vindaloo,” “Gypsy Queen,” “Do You Believe In Ghosts?,” “Mississippi Pearl,” […]

Read full review »
JR-SISK

JUNIOR SISK & RAMBLERS CHOICE THE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING ME HOME Mountain Fever MFRI170324 Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice has been on a roll for more than a decade now, and the poster children for traditional bluegrass show no signs of slowing up with their latest release, The Mountains Are Calling Me Home. The album […]

Read full review »
BALSAM-RANGE

BALSAM RANGE MOUNTAIN VOODOO Mountain Home MH-1673-CD    The rise of Balsam Range in the bluegrass world has been impressive. They have consistently put out great music and won the big awards. Now, the western North Carolina-based group has released their sixth album Mountain Voodoo and it’s a testament to the band’s talent, approach to music, […]

Read full review »
GREENSKY

GREENSKY BLUEGRASS SHOUTED, WRITTEN DOWN AND QUOTED Big Blue Zoo No Number Greensky Bluegrass has come a long way out on the edge of the bluegrass music scene. Following in the tradition of newgrass artists such as Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, as well as the Jerry Garcia/David Grisman/Old & In The Way wing of the […]

Read full review »
FLASHBACK

FLASHBACK FOXHOUNDS AND FIDDLES Pinecastle Records PRC 1206 Four of the five musicians on this recording played together in J.D. Crowe’s New South band back in the 1990s. They include guitarist/vocalist Richard Bennett, mandolinist/vocalist Don Rigsby, resonator guitarist Phil Leadbetter, and bassist Curt Chapman. The album they recorded at that time (1994) was called Flashback. […]

Read full review »
DAILEY&VINCENT

DAILEY & VINCENT PATRIOTS & POETS Dreamlined Entertainment Group BFDO87 Dailey & Vincent’s new 15-song album has a pièce de résistance feel to it. It’s ambitious, soulful, muscular, and infused with melodic and vocal brilliance, along with a delightful stylistic diversity. On Patriots & Poets, this illustrious duo, besides producing, has also taken on a […]

Read full review »
RR-CLIFTON-BOOK

BILL CLIFTON: AMERICA’S BLUEGRASS AMBASSADOR TO THE WORLD—BY BILL C. MALONE—Univ. of Illinois Press 9780252082009. Paperback, 184 pp., b&w photos, discography, $19.95. (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1325 S. Oak St., Champaign, IL 61820, press.uillinois.edu.) Bill Clifton’s influence on folk, country, bluegrass, and old-time music is immeasurable. In this new biography, author Bill Malone takes the […]

Read full review »