Original Traditional Blue Highway
Label: Universal Music
Artist: Blue Highway
Composer: Shawn Lane, Buddy Brock, Gerald Ellenburg, Tim Stafford, Bobby Starnes, Wayne Taylor, Kim Williams, Larry Shell, Tim Stafford, Jon Weisberger, Jason Burleson, Public Domain, Shawn Lane, Gerald Ellenburg, Steve Gulley, Gerald Ellenburg
Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)
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- 1Don’t Weep For Me03:28
- 2If Lonesome Don’t Kill Me02:18
- 3Water From The Stone03:38
- 4Last Time I’ll Ever Leave This Town02:39
- 5Alexander’s Run02:23
- 7What You Wanted02:49
- 8The Story Of My Life02:43
- 9Wilkes County Clay03:57
- 10A Long Row To Hoe03:07
- 11She Ain’t Worth It03:27
- 12Top Of The Ridge03:49
Info for Original Traditional
Beloved bluegrass supergroup Blue Highway releases its 11th studio album called „Original Traditional“. The 22-year strong powerhouse band was recently voted “Favorite Bluegrass Band Of All Time”’ by the readers of Bluegrass Today.
If any Blue Highway album perfectly exemplifies “the essence of bluegrass music,” this is it, combining the spirit, themes, and topics of traditional bluegrass, but through a set of 12 all-new originals from the band and co-writers. Original Traditional may well be the record that everyone has been waiting for from Blue Highway. From callous killings to struggling with sobriety, to the majesty and magic of the mountains, the songs evoke the timeless quality of bluegrass past, but showcase the voices and instrumental prowess of Blue Highway present, capturing a contemporary group at its creative peak.
Blue Highway is fairly unique in being one of the very few bands that boasts three lead singers – Shawn Lane, Tim Stafford, and Wayne Taylor – who are also accomplished songwriters, each of whom brings his own distinctive voice and personality to each of the songs.
On Original Traditional, Shawn Lane’s contributions include “Don’t Weep For Me,” “What You Wanted,” “A Long Row to Hoe,” and “Top of the Ridge.” “Don’t Weep For Me” could well be an old-timey murder ballad, complete with retribution and hanging. “A Long Row to Hoe” is an ode to the farmer, and “Top of the Ridge,” a song of redemption, “no need to worry about the things I miss/I’ll see a whole lot better from the top of the ridge,” lovely in its simplicity.
A veteran member of the bands of both Doyle Lawson and Ricky Skaggs, prized for his voice as well as his mandolin and fiddle virtuosity, Lane has been a key component of the Blue Highway sound, and has contributed many outstanding original songs to the band’s oeuvre.
Tim Stafford, the band’s resident music historian, is admired for the depth and breadth of his knowledge, his amazingly fluid guitar style, and his prowess as a singer and songwriter. Stafford penned “She Ain’t Worth It,” “Wilkes County Clay,” the bluesy, laid-back “If Lonesome Don’t Kill Me,” and the heartbreaking ballad “Last Time I’ll Ever Leave This Town.”
Wayne Taylor’s resonant voice is one of the wonders of the bluegrass world, the perfect instrument for expressing his own songs. On this album, his directness and emotional power come through loud and clear on “Water From the Stone” and “The Story of My Life.” As dependable and solid as ever, his strong bass playing nails the band’s pulse in place.
Jason Burleson, who hails from rural North Carolina, rounds out Blue Highway with his powerful banjo playing, though he also is a noted multi-instrumentalist, not limited to bluegrass. His knowledge of string band jazz and other forms of music runs deep, and his musical sophistication is reflected in his original tunes in the band’s repertoire, a wonderful example of which is the new instrumental, “Alexander’s Run.”
Blue Highway recently welcomed a new addition to their lineup: abundantly gifted Dobro player Gaven Largent, a 20-year old dobro phenom who has more than risen to the challenge, earning show-stopping applause consistently during Blue Highway performances this year, and garnering a 2016 SPBGMA Dobro Performer of the Year nomination.
As music scribe Daniel Mullins summed up in the album’s liner notes, “With Original Traditional, Blue Highway chose to look ahead by looking back.” In so doing, they have never sounded better.
'This is a very special record for us. It's our first with Gaven Largent, and our first 'concept' record, in a way. It's all original material in the traditional style. That might sound like a contradiction in terms to some folks, but the 'founding fathers' of the music who created what we know as 'traditional bluegrass' wrote original music. Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Carter Stanley, Don Reno ... so many great writers from that era. So, in one way, we feel like we are sort of carrying on the tradition even more by doing an all-original set of tunes that haven't been done before.' (Tim Stafford)
'My favorite part about this album is that it's simply rock-hard, straight bluegrass! Three out of the four songs that I co-wrote on this album were written while in a Stanley Brothers frame of mind, and I love that kind of music. There are other great traditional flavors on here, too. I hope you enjoy.' (Shawn Lane)
'After 22 years of creating some great music with my brothers in Blue Highway, I am so proud to be a part of yet another wonderful album. So thankful that God has seen fit to allow me to continue to do what I love so much. So glad that we have gotten back to the roots of what makes this music real to so many people.' (Wayne Taylor)
Jason Burleson, vocals, banjo
Shawn Lane, vocals, mandolin, fiddle, guitar
Gaven Largent, vocals, dobro
Tim Stafford, vocals, guitar
Wayne Taylor, vocals, bass
Highly esteemed bluegrass band Blue Highway have earned 25 collective IBMA Awards, 6 SPBGMA Awards, one Dove Award, and two Grammy nominations. Tim Stafford recently received honors as 2015 SPBGMA Guitar Player of the Year and 2014 IBMA Songwriter of the Year. Rob Ickes reigns as the Most Awarded Instrumentalist in the history of IBMA with 15 Dobro Player of the Year honors, and was recently nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Folk Album for his collaborative album "Three Bells" with Jerry Douglas and the late great Mike Auldridge.
Blue Highway's "The Game" soared to #1 on the national Bluegrass Unlimited Album Chart and held the top spot for a jaw-dropping 7 consecutive months (Jun-Dec 2014). The IBMA 2012 Vocal Group of the Year also sent the title track of The Game to #1 on multiple charts, including Bluegrass Today and Roots Music Report, as well as standing tall at #1 for three consecutive months on the national Bluegrass Unlimited Song Chart (Aug-Oct 2014).
"The Game" was named the #1 Bluegrass Album of the Year by critic Daniel Mullins in his end of the year Top 20 Albums of 2014 list published in Bluegrass Today.
Blue Highway stormed national charts garnering the Most Radio Airplay of any Bluegrass Artist for 2014, per the 2014 Bluegrass Radio Airplay Chart released by Bluegrass Today. Blue Highway's chart-topping The Game sent three songs soaring into the Top 30 for the year with a total of 12,115 spins. (The Game - # 6 - 4531 spins ... Talk Is Cheap - # 11 - 3922 spins ... Remind Me of You - # 14 - 3662 spins) The queen of bluegrass Rhonda Vincent was just behind at #2 in radio airplay for 2014, with two songs in the Top 30 and 8,300 aggregate spins.
Blue Highway broke into 2015 with Sold Out shows accounting for half of their concerts to date. The band has received 14 cumulative award nominations in the past 6 months, with all five of the band's founding powerhouse members still intact, including: Jason Burleson (banjo, vocals), Rob Ickes (dobro, vocals), Shawn Lane (mandolin, fiddle, vocals), Tim Stafford (guitar, vocals), and Wayne Taylor (bass, vocals).