Some of the biggest bluegrass fun I remember from the 1980s was watching Hot Rize on stage, often with their alter egos, Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers. You could always depend on some solid bluegrass, a good dose of old old time country, and more than a few belly laughs.
The band officially disbanded in 1990, but did occasional reunion shows until founding member Charles Sawtelle died from leukemia in ’99. Since 2002 there have been scattered Hot Rize shows with Bryan Sutton on guitar, along with Tim O’Brien on mandolin, Pete Wernick on banjo and Nick Forster on bass, but those were few and far between.
But this year that all changes. There is a new studio album planned, and a six week tour of live shows in support.
Wernick says that even after so many years, there is still a band feel when they get together.
“We’ve had fun over the years playing some of our favorite festivals as we’ve all continued our solo careers, but the last few years we’ve started feeling the tug to make new Hot Rize music. With the new album, we decided it was time to hit the road and try to reach some new heights. Even with the time away and all of our other ventures, we’re still like family, and adding Bryan Sutton on guitar brought a new energy to the band. We are very excited to share the new songs with fans.”
Following a number of Colorado dates in late September, Hot Rize will perform at the IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh and Hardly Strictly in San Francisco, and then hit some east coast dates in October/November before finishing up in the central US.
Here’s what is booked to date:
- September 24 – Durango, CO — Ft. Lewis College
- September 25 – Aspen, CO — Wheeler Opera House
- September 26 – Boulder, CO — Chautauqua
- September 27 – Denver, CO — Cervantes
- September 28 – Columbia, MO — Roots & Blues & BBQ Fest
- October 3 – Raleigh, NC — IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass Festival
- October 5 – San Francisco, CA — Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival
- October 17 – Nashville, TN — War Memorial Auditorium (with Del McCoury Band)
- October 18 – Wingate, NC — Batte Fine Arts Center (with Del McCoury Band)
- November 12 – New York, NY – City Winery
- November 13 – Philadelphia, PA — Keswick Theatre (with Del McCoury and David Grisman)
- November 14 – Washington, DC — The Hamilton
- November 15 – Baltimore, MD — Gordon Center
- November 20 – Stoughton, WI — Stoughton Opera House
- November 21 – Akron, OH — Kent Stage
- November 22 – Middletown, OH — Finkelman Auditorium
- November 23 – Chicago, IL — City Winery
More dates are expected to be added as the summer rolls along. Keep an eye on the Hot Rize web site for updates.