Great news for Hot Rize fans. Pete Wernick has announced that a DVD will soon be available featuring a concert originally filmed in 1987. Both the original Hot Rize band (Pete on banjo, Tim O’Brien on mandolin, Charles Sawtelle on guitar, and Nick Forster on bass) perform on the DVD, as do their erstwhile traveling companions, Red Knuckles & The Trailblazers.
Pete says that the DVD will include 19 songs, plus interviews, but no solid release date can be given at this time. It will be sold for $20, and it will surely show up on the Dr. Banjo online store as soon as it is released, which is expected to be soon.
Hot Rize was a very popular act on the bluegrass circuit during the 1980s, playing a hyrbid sort of music that was right at home on older Flatt & Scruggs or Bill Monroe material, and on their own more contemporary music as well. The additional of The Trailblazers to the show, which involved the Hot Rize boys quickly changing clothes mid-set and adopting new characters as a slightly dim, but surely serious honky tonk hillbilly band, was a huge hit as well.
They disbanded in 1990 at the height of their success, having recently been named as IBMA’s first Entertainer Of The Year, when Tim O’Brien left to pursue opportunities outside of Hot Rize. Tim has, of course, remained a fixture in our music, while Pete Wernick continued on teaching and performing, and Nick Forster found a home with etown on on National Public Radio. Sadly, Charles Sawtelle passed away in 1999 after battling leukemia for a number of years.