David Lee Roth – TV update

Brance posted yesterday with the show dates for David Lee Roth’s television appearances to promote the new CMH release, Strummin’ With The Devil, their Van Halen bluegrass tribute CD which is officially released today. We found a few more bits of news about all this, which may be of interest.

The John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band will be accompanying Roth on these shows: John Jorgenson (mandolin), Brad Davis (guitar), Scott Vestal (banjo), Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Charlie Chadwick (bass), Rob Ickes (Dobro). Jorgenson produced the Van Halen tribute project for CMH, and these pickers recorded tracks with Roth on the CD as well.

CMH has sample audio up on their site for each of the tracks on the CD, including Blue Highway’s version of I’ll Wait, John Cowan Band doing the title track, Nashville Bluegrass Band on Could This Be Magic and Dennis Caplinger’s stunning solo banjo version of Eddie Van Halen’s signature guitar piece, Eruption. Roth adds vocals to Jamie’s Cryin’ (2 versions) and Jump, and the CD also includes contributions from David Grisman, Mountain Heart (a soulful version of Dance The Night Away) and Larry Cordle.

Despite the ease with which one could cast a cynical and jaundiced eye at this project, it actually is a serious effort with some terrific music, and should appeal to fans of the abovementioned bluegrass artists, as well as Van Halen fans with an open mind and a taste for fun. It seems clear that the bluegrass pickers had a blast with this, and Brad Davis has reported to us that Roth is really pumped about it himself, showing up for a recent rehearsal in Nashville full of the same “go-go” energy that has long been his trademark. Brad suggests that tonight’s appearance on Letterman will be an emblematic Roth bit, not at all what you might expect from a conventional bluegrass act at a festival or on the tube.

In other words, don’t expect him to stand in place with his mic stand and “phone it in.” Should be great fun.

The Associated Press has a story that was posted last night which features an interview with Roth about the new CD release. You can find it on the MSNBC web site. He was in Nashville this past few days, rehearsing for these TV spots, and apparently recording one that will appear on CMT’s Insider show at some point. We’ll pass along those details when we get them.

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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.