Blue 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

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July 2017 Reviews


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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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