Hot Rize Bluegrass Band , one of the most respected and influential bands in bluegrass music, is pleased to announce the release of their aptly named new record Hot Rize 40th Anniversary Bash, recorded live at Boulder Theatre, over the course of three sold out shows in January of this year. Hot Rize (Nick Forster on bass, Pete Wernick on banjo, Tim O’Brien on mandolin and fiddle, and Bryan Sutton on guitar) were joined by longtime friends in music Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, and Sam Bush, treating Boulder to three nights of unforgettable music. “We wanted to have a party,” Forster would later say. “We wanted to have a full-out bash!”
The Hot Rize Bluegrass Band Record is available for purchase right now, which is also the anniversary of the band’s 40th year together. Fans worldwide are musically invited to the party, as the band selected 19 of the best of those unforgettable performances for the new record which is available on both CD and vinyl. Also releasing today, the band dropped a live video for “Wichita Lineman,” via American Songwriter Magazine, a song made famous by Glen Campbell in 1968. In this video, Hot Rize is joined onstage at Boulder Theatre by Sam Bush and Stuart Duncan. Watch here.
Previously, Relix released the video for “Colleen Malone,” Wernick commenting that he “ …learned this touching and lyrical song from the writer himself, Pete Goble, on his bus one day at a festival in the 1980s. The band liked it right away and our version became Song of the Year in 1991. It already seems to have become a standard at bluegrass jam sessions.” And last month, Rolling Stone Country debuted the video for “Radio Boogie,” praising the track for “…spotlighting their superb musicianship and camaraderie.”
Over the course of more than an hour of music on 40th Bash, Hot Rize’s broad appreciation for soulfulness and their conscientious balance between traditional and experimental bluegrass– a Hot Rize hallmark since their inception– are on shining display. That warm and glistening, award-winning sound unlocked in every song by the lead vocals of Tim O’Brien, complemented step for step in sibling-tight harmony from Forster with Wernick and Sutton joining in; their stringed instrumental prowess featuring flat-pick guitar kingpin, Sutton, is no less impressive.
Tracing a line from the band’s 1978 self-titled debut to their most recent release, When I’m Free, this collection of classics, fan favorites, and latest hits touches down on every significant entry on the Hot Rize timeline: From their signature nod to Bill Monroe with “Blue Night” and their ‘80s chart-topper, “Just Like You,” through the iconic song-of-the-year “Colleen Malone” from their IBMA Entertainer of the Year run in 1990, up to several tracks from their latest record, including “Western Skies.”
This release celebrates the many miles traveled together as a band and the many milestones that Hot Rize, together, has achieved– for four decades and counting, on stages across the globe– from the grange hall to the Grand Ole Opry — performances turning into statements of legacy and purpose. For the band, the original goal was to play their music all over, have people like it, and make a living. And then, at some point, the journey circles back home.
“I love the fact that this is not a nostalgia trip,” Forster says. “It’s a collaborative enterprise still engaged in ways that resonate for us as artists and for our audience.”
Think of this Boulder-based party as a living history; on “Huckling the Berries,” diving back to those four-sets-a-night gigs in biker bars like the Colorado Coal Company, or even deeper for a tender tribute to the late Glen Campbell on “Wichita Lineman,” a tune that inspired the band’s beginning. There is “You Were On My Mind This Morning” from their latest album, and a few nuggets long associated with Hot Rize, like “Radio Boogie” and ““High on a Mountain”. Whether it’s their modern-day standard “Nellie Kane,” adopted into the jamband circle by Phish, or covering the East L.A. roots ensemble, Los Lobos, on “Burn It Down,” Hot Rize remains both the vanguard and torch-bearer of the evolving bluegrass story.
With measured amounts of old-time consciousness and forward-thinking daring, as in the Celtic-tinged instrumental “The High Road” or the new-age gospel “Your Light Leads Me On” and “I Am the Road,” the delicate, almost telepathic onstage interplay between the quartet, uniting beautifully as one or equally supporting each solo, shimmers in the spotlight. Joining the celebration are special guests Sam Bush (mandolin), Jerry Douglas (dobro), and Stuart Duncan (fiddle) on songs hand-picked by the group to showcase their individual and collective virtuosity.
“Those are absolutely our top-three favorite instrumentalists as well as our good friends,” says Wernick. “For them to come to Colorado and join us for the music and celebration was as much as you could hope for.”
Bush dazzles on “Out on the Ocean,” while Douglas, owning the distinction of being the sole sideman ever on a Hot Rize studio recording, sets “Things in Life” alight. And on “Angelina Baker” there is Duncan whose masterful fiddle-flames smolder and singe.
For the recording and production of the 40th Bash, the group utilized the experienced crew of Forster’s long-running syndicated eTown radio show; one of those critical outside pursuits– like O’Brien’s Grammy winning solo work and songwriting, Sutton’s online instruction and session wizardry, or Wernick’s decades of music camps and development of the Wernick Method– that have sustained the band members’ ongoing individual creative careers. Yet within Hot Rize there has been a perpetual passion and investment spread equally among the four. It’s an elastic and a glue, allowing the sojourns outside the core to pay dividends in return; always with a home to make incredible music together. “Everyone in this band has worked seriously hard to make Hot Rize shine,” declares Wernick.
Naturally, then, it’s on the Boulder stage for three nights in January of 2018, to a sold-out crowd, that these four musicians and these 40 years unite as one; to not only honor each’s contributions, and of course those two decades with their guitarist, the late Charles Sawtelle, but also to further this amazing journey. With respect for the past, gratitude for the present, and ambition for the future, Wernick, the band’s founder, fittingly sums it up. “It’s a really deep feeling of fulfillment when the thing you love smiles back at you.”
Releasing via Ten in Hand Records and distributed through The Orchard, Hot Rize 40th Anniversary Bash is now available on CD and vinyl (double LP). On July 12th, the band rocked the Ryman Auditorium for their Nashville CD release show, as part of the Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman series. Sierra Hull and Justin Moses opened. Special guests included Stuart Duncan and Gillian Welch. Last month, the band recorded a session with SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction which includes live performances of many of the tracks on the new release, plus insightful interviews intermixed. Visit https://www.siriusxm.com/bluegrassjunction for rebroadcast information.
For more information on the band or to purchase the new release, please visit https://www.hotrize.com/. For tour dates and festival appearances, please click here.
Hot Rize Bluegrass Band Tour dates:
Aug. 31 – Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival – New Castle, DE
Sept. 1 – Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival – Brunswick, ME
Sept. 2 – Rhythm and Roots Festival – Charlestown, RI
Nov. 2 – The Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries – St. Louis, MO
Nov. 4 – The Caverns – Pelham, TN
Nov. 9 – Peoples Bank Theatre – Marietta, OH
Nov. 11 – Kent Stage – Kent, OH
Nov. 16 – City Winery – New York, NY
+ more to be soon added