Nu-Blu emerges from the Pinecastle rubble

Nu-Blu is yet another talented young bluegrass band, based around the singing of Carolyn and Daniel Routh from North Carolina. The couple have been performing together since 2003 and were married after the release of their first CD, The Grass Still Grows, in 2005.

Their second album, Nights, was to have been released on Pinecastle this Spring, but with the company folding in February, those plans had to be revisited. Nu-Blu was actually the last act to be signed to the label before it closed down, and with the finished project in hand they have decided to put it out themselves.

In addition to the Rouths, the band consists of Kendall Gates on mandolin and Levi Auston on banjo. Daniel Routh plays guitar and Carolyn is on bass. Their music is polished and contemporary, as this sampler from Nights demonstrates.

Nights audio sampler:  []

Carolyn shared the story of how she and Daniel started playing music, and eventually fell in love. Their story would make quite a a song in itself.

“Daniel and I met in the fall of 2000 when he was playing banjo with Donna Hughes. I had a Contemporary Christian group and needed a bass player. Daniel learned to play bass to fill the spot. Those first months for us were filled with creative differences but we shared a love for the Lord and the love of music. By 2002 The band, Faithful Journey had switched format and was playing Christian Rock. I had a respect for bluegrass but really had never been a fan until Daniel took me to see Lonesome River Band back during the time that my old friend John Wade was playing bass with them. To say I was hooked by the second song is an understatement. I’ve told Sammy many times that he is directly responsible for my bluegrass addiction.

Shortly after that, Faithful Journey fell apart and Daniel and I continued on with a classic rock band.

Finally in 2003 we could resist the bluegrass urge no longer and formed Nu-Blu. By now because of the music we had become best friends. Thanksgiving weekend 2003 I had two strokes and nearly died. I lost my speech and the use of my right side. Daniel was my constant companion through it all. He never left my side in the months of rehab that followed but there was still no real ‘love interest.’ I really don’t know when I first knew I loved him. It just sort of ‘was.’

We had maintained Nu-Blu through all of this and held onto our musical dreams and goals. We were married June 16, 2006. There is nothing sweeter than taking the stage with your best friend and love standing right beside you. I’m having the time of my life.”

Carolyn said that she and Daniel made their deal with Tom Riggs of Pinecastle during IBMA 2009.

“Because we already had the CD completed, they were leasing it. They set our release date for May of this year. The CD was actually recorded over a two year time period. We kept meeting one obstacle after another. It was ready to go in early 2009 but was held up in label negotiations. We finally had decided to release it ourselves with Penni McDaniel’s help when out of the blue, Tom Riggs invited us into the Pinecastle family. This in itself was yet another delay, but one we were happy to accept

Our photo shoot had just been set up and John Eberle had begun to re-master the project when lightning struck. [Producer]Greg Luck called on January 29 and asked if we had read Bluegrass Today that day. Needless to say that when we did, our hearts sunk. It took several more weeks for the attorneys to sort things out before everything was settled. Cort Riggs has been wonderful and I could never thank him enough for his generosity and helpfulness.”

Nights is available now for download (iTunes or CD Baby), and manufactured CDs should be forthcoming soon. Broadcasters can obtain a digital copy at, where listeners can stream all 12 tracks.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.