Rounder has announced August 23 for the release of Blue Highway’s next album, entitled Sounds Of Home. This will be the 10th band project for this award-winning group, 17 years into their much-heralded career.
I had a chance to catch up with the guys yesterday to get a better feel for what to expect.
Guitarist Tim Stafford said that it would be their first new band release since 2008’s Through the Window of a Train. They did have a retrospective album, Some Day: The Fifteenth Anniversary Collection in January 2010 – which added three new tracks to ten previously recorded ones – but nothing all-new since ’08.
Tim also mentioned that it was just the five of them in the studio, no guests either picking or singing.
Banjo man Jason Burleson, contributed the album’s sole instrumental, Roaring Creek, is enthusiastic about the CD.
“I’m very excited about our new Rounder release, Sounds of Home. I feel it is our strongest project since we began 17 years ago. Once again, it features songs all songs written or co-written by the band members. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it!”
Rob Ickes, Blue Highway’s resident resophone, shares Burleson’s assessment of the music, agreeing that the sound and overall vibe of the record raises the bar from their previous efforts.
“It’s what we always do… but even better! It sounds really tight, and it feels so natural.”
Rob said that they have settled into a very effective workflow on new projects, getting together as a band just before heading into the studio.
“We get together before we go in, and pass around the guitar, sharing song ideas, and playing demos. We go around in a circle, seeing what everybody likes.
Shawn had this one, Songs Of Home, and everybody just loved it. We thought about making this a concept album based around the idea of home. That didn’t really work for the songs we wanted to include, but we all still really liked it as a title.”
They recorded again at Maggard Recording Studio in Big Stone Gap, VA where Ralph Stanley has tracked more than 20 projects with his Clinch Mountain Boys.
We’ll be eager to hear some audio from this new CD in the next few weeks.