Hot Rize reunites for first tour in decade
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Hot Rize reunites for first tour in decade

Monday, August 9, 2010 – Hot Rize is reuniting for its first tour in more than a decade starting in late August.

The band features Tim O'Brien, Nick Forster, Bryan Sutton and Pete Wernick

The group recently played Bonnaroo and recording new music for the first time in 20 years, beginning with a rearrangement of Wichita Lineman.

"The world is ready for a revisit from Hot Rize," says banjo player Pete Wernick, who launched the band in 1978 with O'Brien (mandolin, fiddle, lead vocals) and Forster (electric bass, vocals) and guitarist Charles Sawtelle. "In the rare times we've reunited for one-off performances, we've seen a level of enthusiasm that's been hard to ignore."

Following the untimely passing of Sawtelle in 1999, the quartet reorganized in 2002 with Grammy winner and five-time IBMA Guitarist of the Year, Bryan Sutton. "I'm so happy to be playing with Hot Rize. I've been a fan since seeing them as a kid when they came through North Carolina," said Sutton. "It's a joy to share the music."

"At first, the four of us set out to play a summer's worth of gigs - that was all we had committed to," said Forster. "But we kept going, playing everywhere we could. We grew up together and created music we're really proud of - over 100 recorded songs, mostly original or new arrangements of traditional music. Now - 32 years later - we've all evolved as musicians, but we still have the Hot Rize sound; something only the four of us can make, something Bryan is now a part of."

Named after the secret ingredient of Martha White's "self-rising" flour, the product Flatt & Scruggs promoted in the '50s and '60s, Hot Rize has marked more than 30 years as flamekeepers of soulful, high-energy bluegrass, touring the world in their vintage suits and ties - a throwback to founders Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley and the Osborne Brothers. "We're not just carbon copies of the bluegrass founders," said Forster. "We're having fun, honoring the tradition but making it our own."

"I learned that you take the music seriously and work your hardest, but you can't take yourself too seriously," said O'Brien, who disappears mid-set with band mates as the Western swing antiheroes, Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers, take the stage.

O'Brien released 'Chicken & Egg' in July, earned a Grammy in 2008, has written hits for country artists including Garth Brooks and the Dixie Chicks and has toured worldwide in many musical combinations. Wernick ("Dr. Banjo") is the leader of Flexigrass and performs with his wife Joan, Long Road Home and Steve Martin. He continues to produce instructional videos and host music camps around the U.S. Forster is host and musical director for eTown, the live music/public affairs radio program he founded in 1991, now syndicated to over 250 stations.

Tour dates are:

Aug. 27-28 Tonder, Denmark Tonder Music Festival

Oct. 28 Berkeley, CA The Freight

Oct. 29 Seattle, WA Benaroya Hall

Oct. 30 Portland, OR Aladdin Theater

Oct. 31 Boulder, CO Boulder Theater

Nov. 3 Lexington, MA National Heritage Museum

Nov. 4 New York, NY BB King Blues Club

Nov. 5 Charlotte, NC McGlohon Theatre

Nov. 6 Alexandria, VA The Birchmere

Nov 7 Wheeling, WV tba


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CD review - Where the River Meets the Road Reviewed by Greg Yost The 15th solo release from the highly regarded multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Tim O'Brien is similar to the 1998 double album "Step Inside This House" by Lyle Lovett. While Lovett's unique take on a covers collection highlighted the music of lesser-known songwriters from his home state of Texas that helped influence his career, O'Brien's approach focuses on painting a picture of his native West Virginia by highlighting the ...
CD review - Pompadour It is difficult to tally exactly how many albums of new material Tim O'Brien has released since first appearing as part of Hot Rize, the venerable bluegrass band experiencing a well-received resurgence. More than 20 by any count, 30-plus when one considers solo, duet and group offerings, including his most recent success as part of the Earls of Leicester. Aside from a brief flirtation with the mainstream country music industry in the form of a Top 10 song with Kathy Mattea 25 years ago ...
CD review - Chicken & Egg Tim O'Brien has covered a lot of musical territory over the last 30 years, leaving behind footprints in the form of some two dozen-plus albums encompassing his work with the neo-traditionalist Colorado bluegrass band Hot Rize, duets with sister Mollie, numerous guest appearances and, now, more than a dozen solo releases. (O'Brien continues to deny any connection with or resemblance to cult honky-tonk legend Red Knuckles). A gifted songwriter, O'Brien has his fingerprints on 10 or ...


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