Robert Hale sings Help! from his covers album

Pinecastle Records has released a first single for Robert Hale, from his upcoming album of bluegrass covers, Blue Haze, expected later this year.

Like so many bluegrass artists, Robert started playing with his family, his dad Clayton’s band in West Virginia to be exact. He was mandolinist in the group before he hit his teens. After graduating from music school, he took a job touring with Dale and Don Wayne Reno, but first made his own mark as a member of Live Wire in the 1990s. In more recent years we have heard him with Wildfire.

First up this week is Help!, a big hit for The Beatles 55 years ago. Music lovers of a certain age will recall the sensation that this song, the album of the same name, and the film as well, created around the world when it hit in 1965. Pop music hadn’t seen something like it since Elvis Presley, and the mix of rock, folk, and pop stylings gave the album a wide appeal among worldwide audiences.

Robert gives it a decided bluegrass twist, with the assistance of a studio band he calls The 8th Wonder Band, featuring Scott Vestal on banjo, Missy Raines on bass, Chris Davis on mandolin, and Shawn Lane on fiddle. 

Hale explains a bit how they came to be assembled.

“The original idea for this project was songs that you may hear, or play in a jam session but maybe not on stage. However… it kinda changed over time to just choosing great old rock songs. I knew I had to have great musicians. So… Scott Vestal… Missy Raines… Shawn Lane and Chris Davis formed the all-star lineup… The 8th Wonder Band! It is all acoustic and honors some of my favorites including… The Beatles… Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton to name a few. We had a blast recording Blue Haze! I hope everyone enjoys listening as much as we did recording it!”

They deliver a very faithful translation of the classic song.

A complete track listing for Blue Haze follows:

  • Help!
  • It’s All Over Now
  • Rapid Roy
  • Mr. Bojangles
  • House of the Rising Sun
  • The Shape You’re In
  • Riding the Storm Out

Help! is available now as a single wherever you stream or download music online. Radio programmers can find it at AirPlay Direct.

Look for Blue Haze to hit on August 7.

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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.