Detour returns to the bluegrass stage

Many times when bands take a break from the road they’re never heard from again. That’s not the case, fortunately, for Detour, the Michigan-based band that made a big splash before dropping off the road a couple of years ago to focus on family matters.

Detour is back, Jeff Rose and Missy Armstrong told me after they visited IBMA’s World of Bluegrass to catch up with old friends.

“We are playing again,” Rose said with a smile. And recording. A new song from Jeff, A Bluegrass Christmas Story, is on a soon-to-be-released Christmas sampler from Mountain Fever Records, along with music from Volume Five, Kristy Cox, Summer Brooke and Mountain Faith, Irene Kelley and others. The song is available to DJs now and will be released publicly on November 13.

Getting the band back together was always the goal, but the timing was open-ended. Jeff and Missy got a nudge last year, when some members of the band attended the Milan, MI, festival for fun. The promoter offered them a spot in the lineup this year if they wanted it. The answer was yes.

Fans will recognize a couple of changes. Jennifer Strickland, a super singer and songwriter who moved to Michigan when she got married, is playing bass and bringing some of her songs to the mix. And her husband, Tony Zapolnik, is on guitar.

“She brought some great songs,” Missy said of Jennifer. “That’s refreshing.” She also adds another lead vocalist to the lineup.

The band is working up new material and focusing on the new vocal blend. “When it’s good, it’s very, very good,” Jeff said about the singing.

Detour is also cobbling together a calendar of limited dates – probably a dozen or so shows next year. The band is willing to travel anywhere, but putting a cap on time away from jobs and family responsibilities.

The return is exciting and challenging at the same time, Missy said. “There’s no expectation that we’re picking up where we left off. To me, it’s like starting over.”

Jeff and Missy both said Mountain Fever boss Mark Hodges has been consistently supportive, both when the band took a break from the road and when they were ready to return.

In addition to the Christmas song, the band will soon start putting together a new CD for the label.

“Realistically, by late spring, we’ll have to have some kind of product,” Jeff said.

I, for one, can’t wait.

Share this:

About the Author

David Morris

David Morris, an award-winning songwriter and journalist, has written for Bluegrass Today since its inception. He joined its predecessor, The Bluegrass Blog, in 2010. His 40-year career in journalism included more than 13 years with The Associated Press, a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and several top editing jobs in Washington, D.C. He is a life member of IBMA and the DC Bluegrass Union. He and co-writers won the bluegrass category in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2015.