Blue Collar Blues from Alan Bibey & Grasstowne

It seems that all our favorite bluegrass artists and labels have been working overtime since the start of 2021, as there are a great many new tracks and albums hitting both this week and this month.

One such is Billy Blue Records, who are releasing a second single on Friday from their upcoming project for Alan Bibey & Grasstowne, Hitchhiking To California, which is scheduled for January 29.

This group has gone from strength to strength in recent years, producing one fine recording after another, and enhancing their sound with each personnel change. This latest iteration of the band finds bluegrass veteran Kati Penn in the fiddle chair, adding her soulful vocals to the trio. We understand that she also sings some lead on the new record.

Bibey tells us that this latest track, Blue Collar Blues, snuck up on him with its story of the forgotten working man doing his best to get by for himself and his family.

Blue Collar Blues is a tune Jerry Salley sent me with a few others, and after a first listen I didn’t hear anything that I thought fit us. One day on a bike ride I thought I should relisten, and I immediately called Jerry and told him I didn’t know how I missed that song, but I think we should do it. Luckily, it was still available.

Ron Stewart and all the band helped with the arrangement in the studio, and Kati’s tenor vocal really made it happen I thought. Thanks to Jerry and our good friend Rick Lang for a great song.”

They give the song an appropriately bluesy, medium tempo rendition with loads of drive. Have a listen.

With Bibey on mandolin and lead vocal, and Penn on fiddle and tenor vocal, Grasstowne is Justin Jenkins on banjo, Zak McLamb on bass, and Tony Watt on guitar.

Pre-orders for Hitchhiking To California on CD can be made from the Grasstowne web store, and digitally from the popular download and streaming sites.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.