On This Day ….
On February 27, 1967, Carolyn Routh, lead vocalist and bass player for Nu-Blu, was born in Siler City, North Carolina.
Ms Routh has loved music for as long as she can remember. She started singing at church and was always involved in the choir and anything else music related. When she was in the second grade, she was picked to sing as part of a trio, with two boys in her class, for the school Christmas concert. That performance was the deciding moment for her, determining what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
There weren’t a lot of resources in her little rural town and both her parents worked, so there were no opportunities for her to go out of town for more music experiences. However, she continued to sing in church and at school with every chance that she got.
High school brought new challenges. Her choral department not only did regular concerts where Routh was a soloist, but also presented a musical every spring. She quickly fell in love with this new aspect of stage life and learned a whole new dimension of performance, playing leading roles in several productions.
In the years that followed, performing took a back seat to raising her sons; church being her primary outlet for music. She was a part of several Gospel and Christian groups during that time.
By late 2000 Ms Routh could not ignore the calling any more. She started a contemporary Christian group, but it lacked a bass player. As a consequence Daniel Routh joined the group and the couple began playing music together. They continued making music, playing as a Christian rock band and, briefly, as a Classic rock band as well as in their contemporary Christian band.
Carolyn had been around bluegrass in her teen years, but was never really a fan until Daniel literally carried her to a local bluegrass festival. Within 15 minutes of Lonesome River Band’s first set, she was hooked. This was not the bluegrass that she had heard before. This was new and exciting and a lot like the rock ‘n’ roll that she loved so much.
In 2003 Daniel and Carolyn formed Nu-Blu and they haven’t looked back. Being a professional musician is so much more than a job. It’s her life’s passion.
However, she soon found herself struggling with major health issues. Ms Routh explains ….
“In 2003, shortly after Daniel and I formed Nu-Blu, I had two strokes that left me unable to speak and without the use of my right side. My speech returned first, then I learned to walk again, but had to spend several months in Occupational Therapy to retrain my right hand to work properly. The most difficult thing I had to do was learn to write again.
Thankfully I am still here to talk about it now. Those were very scary times.”
And what does Nu-Blu have planned for this year?
“Nu-Blu started out the year with a Bluegrass Cruise, NAMM appearances, a West Coast Tour, and Folk Alliance. Upon returning home, it’s on to the studio at Red Squared Audio to begin work on our new project that, we project, will be released sometime later this year.
We will also be on the road touring extensively across the country and into Canada again this year. I’m excited to be playing in so many States that we’ve never played in before and also to revisit the ones we have.
2014 is going to be our best year yet.”
- The Grass Still Grows (2005)
- Nights (2010)
- The Blu-disc (Pinecastle, 2011)
- Nail By Nail (Pinecastle, 2012)
- Ten (Rural Rhythm Records, 2013)
Category: Bluegrass Today Profiles
About the Author (Author Profile)
Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics.
A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe.
He wrote the annotated series I’m On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.
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