Hot Pickin Bluegrass is a 4-piece acoustic band out of Austin playing standards and originals in the genres of bluegrass, classic country (Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, etc), old rock and roll (Chuck Berry, Rickey Nelson, Johnny Rivers, etc.) and Texas Swing.
The band got together in January 2016, and had a terrific year with shows at Luckenbach, 30th Annual Grapefest, a 290 Texas House Concert sponsored by the Texas Heritage Music Foundation, and Oskar Blues among many others.
The seeds for the band were planted in 1997. Max was 10 years old. He heard Bill Monroe on Austin City Limits, loved it, and his family started going to hear bluegrass at Artz Rib house in Austin, Texas. Max would tape Eddie Collins’s band, and listen to it for hours, and soon was taking lessons from Eddie. He started playing out a bit and got to do some shows with Eddie and other area pickers. Max returned to Austin after earning a degree at the Berklee College of Music in Boston (with majors in guitar and mandolin performance) and began several projects, including Hot Pickin’ Bluegrass, One Eye Open, and a duo with Eddie.
Eddie Collins is a long-time staple of the Austin music scene, having performed with many of the area’s top acoustic groups. He has nine solo CDs, which include many original tunes that can be heard on over twenty-five commercially released recordings. Eddie plays banjo, guitar, mandolin, and sings lead & harmony.
Mike Montgomery started classical violin training at age 10. He grew up also immersed in Old Timey and Bluegrass music. While he continued to study violin at college, his love of science led him to a PhD in Astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin. Since graduating, Mike has been working as a professional astronomer, and his research has taken him to Vienna, Cambridge in the UK, and finally back to Austin. Since his return, he has played with Whit Smith’s Hot Jazz Caravan, and artists such as Alan Munde, Billy Bright, and Eddie Collins, and now Hot Pickin Bluegrass. Mike also sings harmony vocals.
Vance Hazen rounds out the band on upright bass and lead & harmony vocals. Born in Montana and raised in Ohio, he has branched out, touring across the US, Europe and Japan, playing electric and upright bass with a wide assortment of bands.