Nu-Blu living the dream

Nu-Blu's custom tour bus from Peterson TunersIt just was last year that Nu-Blu’s song That’s What Makes The Bluegrass Blue was the most played song on SiriusXm’s Bluegrass Junction. While it may appear that are a ‘Nu’ band, they are not a new band at all.

Daniel and Carolyn Routh formed Nu-Blu in 2003. 13 years later they tour in a beautiful bus with their band photo larger than life on the side. Like many who see the bus parked in the lot I wondered how they did it, so I asked them.

How did you get here?

“It was our dream right from the start,” Carolyn told me. “When we started the band we knew we wanted to get to the point that we would be touring and performing full time.” With their shared vision of what they wanted to do with their lives, they set about making it happen. Somehow juggling work, 2 boys, band practices and gigging, they branched out from their small North Carolina town and made a name for themselves. No mean feat when you consider just how many bands there are within a hundred miles of Siler City.

She credits her husband Daniel with applying his skill in business to promoting their music and building their brand: “When I was in business I had to get up every day, make contacts, write estimates, make phone calls to potential clients and be on job sites, in that regard succeeding in music is no different. You have to treat it like a business. It takes a team, and we are so thankful for our partners Webster PR and Rural Rhythm Records.”

Their brand, ‘Nu-Blu”? “Carolyn had that in the 8th grade,” Daniel told me. “She used to doodle designs of band names in her notebook. So when we needed a name for the band she said ‘…got that right here!’ ”

And then of course there is the music. If your dream is to have a big shiny bus you had better get the music right. And they do. They sound…different. Nu-Blu plays a mix of traditional tunes and originals depending on their audience. (They even cover Pat Benetar’s Shadows of the Night!)

Instrumentally they are an excellent band but it is Carolyn’s powerful voice that leads the way. Put it all together in a slightly ‘Newgrassy’ sound, add husband Daniel’s voice and solid harmonies and they really bring something different to the bluegrass world.

Daniel plays guitar with Carolyn on bass, and Levi Austin on banjo and Milom Williams on mandolin.

Visit them online for more information about Nu-Blu.

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About the Author

David VanGelder

David VanGelder lives in Tucson, Arizona with his sweetheart Leslie and a Springer Spaniel named Belle. They have a bluegrass band called The Dust Devils and are looking forward to a 'bluegrass retirement' traveling to festivals, camping, writing songs, and photographing our national parks.