Blue Highway played their first show on New Year’s Eve in 1994 with Tim Stafford on guitar, Shawn Lane on mandolin, Wayne Taylor on bass, Jason Burleson on banjo and Rob Ickes on resonator guitar. With that 15th anniversary drawing nigh, the band consists of these same 5 musicians, a testament both to the five of them as individuals, and to the way they run the group.
True, Burleson did take about a year off in the late ’90s (with Tom Adams filling the void), but he returned in short order and has never looked back.
Blue Highway has always been run as a true democratic entity, with all band decisions being made by equal votes among the members. No one is the leader, though they may each take the lead in certain tasks a band must perform. These guys obviously understand the value of the whole, and have kept egos from destroying something this unique and fine for 15 years – no small feat, that.
When the band got started, their intention was for it to be a part time venture. Tim Stafford had recently left Alison Krauss & Union Station, and Rob Ickes had left Lynn Morris, and neither wanted to be back on the road full time. After their first two Rebel releases, demand was such that a return to the highway was indicated, and that was the direction they took.
The band has a page on their web site dedicated to this anniversary year, with an extensive array of photos from over the years collected and sent in by fans. Rounder is set to release an anniversary CD, and a special anniversary concert is scheduled for December 18.
The CD, Some Day: Fifteenth Anniversary Collection (1/19/10), will include 13 tracks. 9 are culled from the band’s 4 previous Rounder albums, 1 comes from an Ickes solo project, 2 are fresh songs, newly recorded, and 1 is a re-recording of the title track, an enduring staple of their live show.
The full track listing follows (new tracks *):
The concert on 12/18 was as close as they could get to New Year’s Eve. It will be held in Roanoke, VA at the historic Jefferson Center at 7:30 p.m. Scheduled to be a festive affair, the band is eager to celebrate their anniversary with fans and friends before closing their touring for 2009 and heading off to spend the Christmas season with loved ones.
They expect to have copies of the new CD at the Anniversary Show, and concertgoers who purchase the VIP ticket will receive an autographed copy at the show, along with an invitation to attend the post-show reception.
Hats off to Blue Highway – here’s to 15 more!