The history of bluegrass music is often filled with stories of artists who bounce from band to band, contributing mightily and then moving on. But for Tim Stafford, staying put has been the story of his career. Nearly 30 years after the founding of Blue Highway, Tim is still there on guitar and vocals, and serving as one of three primary songwriters for the group.
He did spend time with a few acts beforehand, including a memorable stint with Alison Krauss & Union Station after performing with regional acts The Boys in the Band and Dusty Miller, but Blue Highway has been a comfortable home for Stafford ever since. They give him a home for many of his original songs, while allowing him the freedom to write for others, which he does with a startling frequency, and record solo projects on his own, and with other co-writers.
Among the songwriter-oriented projects we get the odd album which celebrates Stafford the guitarist, an important part of his musical legacy which too-often remains unheralded.
This week we have just such a gem, a new all-instrumental album called simply, Guitar Melodies, which finds Tim in a variety of settings, solo, in duet, and with a full bluegrass band. In addition to new tunes we get interesting covers of Both Sides Now and While My Guitar Gently Weeps, plus duo versions of Cluck Old Hen and Banish Misfortune.
Helping out are many familiar names, with Ron Stewart on fiddle and banjo, Jacob Burleson on mandolin, Dave Eggar on cello, and Kameron Keller on bass.
Tim has offered to share a track with our listeners, one of his tunes called Margarette Falls, which employs a motif that Stafford fans may recognize from his long career.
He says that he took the title from a spot near his east Tennessee home.
“Margarette Falls is a place in the Cherokee National Forest just a few miles from where I live. It’s a beautiful spot and a great hike. This tune reminded me of a waterfall, and Ron Stewart, Jacob Burleson, and Kameron Keller were fantastic on this record.”
Have a listen…
Guitar Melodies is available now from Tim’s web site as either downloads or on audio CD. It is also offered through the usual download and streaming services online, and to radio programmers via AirPlay Direct.