Charlie Daniels – a look back with Wichita Rutherford

Back in 2005, a mysterious character popped up in the bluegrass world, appearing unexpectedly all over Nashville, often in the company of celebrated bluegrass artists. He went by the name of Wichita Rutherford, and put himself forward as the lead singer of a Ozzy Osborne tribute band, Van Heffer, made up of Elvis impersonators, performing grassy versions of their classic hits.

A lot of folks weren’t sure what to make of him, especially his prominent push for Trent Dobbins as Mayor of Bluegrass, but his quirky humor won him legions of fans across a surprisingly wide ranging demographic. At one point there was talk of a feature film, and even a television series, but just as quickly as he popped up, Wichita was gone.

He had two shows that were quite successful in the early days of podcasting, 5 Minutes With Wichita and The Bluegrass Way. His interviews with bluegrass stars in 5 Minutes With Wichita were a hit across the board, with guests like Alison Krauss, Dan Tyminski, John Cowan, Chris Thile, Doc Watson, Sam Bush, Béla Fleck, Dierks Bentley, and many others attracting attention throughout the music industry.

Reflecting on today’s sudden passing of Charlie Daniels, we thought readers might enjoy Charlie’s visit with Wichita back in April of 2005.

All of the Wichita Rutherford podcasts are still available online at Apple Podcasts or LibSyn.

Farewell to Charlie, and Wichita too.

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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.