Nobody would ever challenge Don’ Rigsby’s bluegrass credentials. Anyone who has toured and recorded with legends like The Bluegrass Cardinals, J.D. Crowe & The New South, and Lonesome River Band has got to be on the short list for the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. Throw in his stellar solo career, his work with The Band of Ruhks, Longview, Flashback, and his many contributions to albums by other acts, and you have a true bluegrass artist of note.
So don’t be fooled when you learn that his latest single from RBR Entertainment is a recording of the pop and jazz standard, Misty. Knowing Don, you would expect a thoroughly bluegrass treatment, and that’s exactly what you get.
This classic song has gotten a lot of attention since it was first recorded in 1954 as an instrumental by its composer, pianist Erroll Garner. But when it hit the radio with Johnny Burke’s lyrics sung by Johnny Mathis four years later, Misty became a pop culture phenomenon. Artists as big as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan have covered the song, and it even got a prior grassed up arrangement in 1975 by country funny man Ray Stevens, for whom it became a signature song, much as it had for Mathis.
Rigsby says that it was that ’70s cut that initially grabbed his ear.
“There’s two things about this song. The first being, when I heard the Ray Stevens version of Misty, I felt like it was really good music, and the musicianship on his version, even as a child, really knocked my socks off. The second thing is, when I was a teenager, about 19, I had a little regional band and we recorded this song way back then, like over 30 years ago. I liked our version of it, but I always felt there was just more to the song.
I always wanted to revive the song if I could ever find the right vehicle, and the timing was right. With the vision of [co-producer] Billy Droze, and the caliber of the musicians he got to play on the record, the time was right to give the fans another shot at hearing it. I think the fans will love this bluegrassy take of a country version of a jazz song.”
And he isn’t kidding about his backing musicians. With Don on mandolin and vocal, Jason Roller plays guitar, Scott Vestal is on banjo, Tim Crouch fiddle, Josh Swift reso-guitar, and Greg Martin bass.
Check it out…
Misty from Don Rigsby will be available soon from popular download and streaming services online. Pre-saves are enabled now.
Radio programmers will find the track at AirPlay Direct.