Detour to take 2016 off

DetourWhat happens when a part time band suddenly becomes a major festival draw with runaway hit songs on radio, and record sales far beyond their expectations? Well, on top of lots of big smiles, high fives, and a greatly expanded tour schedule, it can lead to strains on family and “regular” job commitments.

It’s a largely unexplored side of being bluegrass weekend warriors, and often explains why bands break up – and divorces occur – in our music. The dream of being a bluegrass star is a powerful motivator. Nothing else is quite the same as the charge you get from an appreciative audience, but for people already established in a lucrative career field, and with family at home depending on them, the pull of the two opposing forces can be exhausting.

Such is the story of Detour, one of the more successful bluegrass bands of the past few years, who had formed in Michigan without an intention of becoming a full time touring act. For several years everything proceeded according to plan, but with the addition of songbird Missy Armstrong, and the release of A Better Place in 2012, things began to change.

The bluegrass world fell in love with Missy’s voice, and her and Jeff Rose’s songs, and all at once, it seemed that every festival wanted them to appear, media outlets on all sides were clamoring for an interview, and the band began to feel a real obligation to its fans. The release of Going Nowhere Fast in 2014 did nothing to curb the progress of their spiraling acclaim. The album dominated radio all year and its first single, Too Blue To Have The Blues, was the #1 song for all of 2014 on our Bluegrass Today airplay chart.

But imagine the strain working a day job all week, or managing a rambunctious family of young boys, and then heading off every weekend to drive hundreds of miles to play the music you love, and then right back to work again on Monday. It’s hard to envision keeping that up for long, and Detour has had to face that fact.

And they have come up with a perfect solution. The band will be recording this year for a new project on Mountain Fever Records, but have canceled their 2016 schedule to give everyone a chance to catch a breath.

As Rose said in a statement yesterday…

“After seven years of balancing touring with home life we have decided to take a break and recharge. We want to personally thank the promoters and fans for their compassion and understanding as we spend more time with our families and other responsibilities at home.

This will give us the time to write and develop new material as we prepare for a second album with Mountain Fever Records. We have connected with many of our favorite song writing heroes and look forward to the opportunity to co-write new material.”

Not much fun for their fans who have been looking forward to seeing them this year, but a necessary step for the band members’ emotional well-being.

Hats off to Detour for realizing the need and making a decision.

On behalf of Bluegrass Today, we can’t wait to hear what they have in store, and look forward to catching them on tour upon their return.

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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.