Blue Smoke video from Wyatt Ellis

Teen mandolin prodigy Wyatt Ellis has released a music video for his current single, Blue Smoke, that provides a tour diary of his recent run with Marty Stuart, for whom the song was written. Marty also played on the single with Wyatt, taken from Ellis’ album, Happy Valley, on Knee High Records.

When Wyatt and his band were invited to open for Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives recently, he brought along filmmaker Joseph Cash to capture the highlights, which you can see in the video. It includes stops at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA, The Beacon Theater in Hopewell, VA, and The Egg PAC in Albany, NY.

The 14 year old mandolinist shared that getting to play these historic venues was an exciting opportunity in his young career.

Live At The Birchmere is one of my favorite Johnson Mountain Boys albums that I listen to all the time. To have the opportunity to perform on that same stage was really exciting.”

Blue Smoke was written specifically with Marty Stuart in mind, who has been on Wyatt’s heroes list since he started playing seriously about four years ago. He was overjoyed when Stuart agreed to play with him on the tune for his album, and even more so when he invited Ellis and his band to appear as his opening act on the road.

Marty told Rolling Stone earlier this month that as much as he respects this young picker’s playing ability, it is his skills as a tune crafter that really impresses him the most.

“I admire Wyatt for writing new songs for the bluegrass canon. His writing could set him apart from the pack. There’s a lot of great players and singers in bluegrass that need good new songs to perform to keep the genre fresh and moving forward. Wyatt has the goods to help bring that about.”

While watching the Blue Smoke video, you’ll see Wyatt sporting some of the cool bluegrass garb he has been given of late, like a an old Blue Grass Boys jacket, an Osborne Brothers belt buckle, and a pair of boots that had belonged to banjo legend Bill Emerson. You’ll also see Ellis and his band mates interacting and preparing for the shows. Watch closely and you can catch Alex Leach tumbling out of the bus!

Players on the single track include both Wyatt and Marty on mandolin, Justin Moses on guitar, Jason Carter on fiddle, Cory Walker on banjo, and Mike Bub on bass. For the video, the members of Ellis’ band appear, with Gibson Davis on banjo, Christian Ward on fiddle, Alex Leach on guitar, and Sarah Griffin on bass.

It’s a fine, Monroe-inflected tune, and a fun video. Check ’em out…

Blue Smoke, and the full Happy Valley album, are available now from popular download and streaming services online. Autographed CDs and LPs can be ordered directly from the artist.

Radio programmers will find all the tracks at AirPlay Direct.

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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.