Blue Highway 2008

        Blue Highway was over in Raleigh this afternoon.  We never fail to catch their show.  For those of you who read this weblog who are unfamiliar with bluegrass, and have debated whether to test the water, this would be a good band for you to check out.

        I’ve know these guys for years, but I have to admit they fooled me.  They look young enough that in my mind I had them together for a decade.  When they said fourteen years, I was shocked.  Where has the time gone?

        Had I thought about it I woulda gotten it right, though.  My kids wore Blue Highway shirts to school, and their classmates asked where it was.  That was about a decade and a half ago, so I guess it is true.  Fourteen years.

       What a fine ride.  I remember Tim Stafford in Raleigh with Alison Krauss years ago.  To this day, some of her best work is from the Stafford catalogue.  Tim is still going strong, and crafts a fine tune.  But the band is much deeper than that.  Every one of the members has a tune on the new CD, and it is strong across the board.

          Each is an expert on their respective instrument.  Rob Ickes is a dobro master. Shawn Lane plays modern and Monroe mandolin with equal facility.  Jason Burleson, a N.C. boy, is the banjo man, but can play everything on the stage.  Wayne Taylor came to the circuit driving a West Virgina coal truck, and sings like a man who ain’t forgot the hard times.  He has long been one of my favorite lead singers, and delivers a tune with such emotional conviction.  Even the songs I’ve heard many times before still move me.

        They sing bluegrass tunes of family, loneliness, and traditional gospel, but also of social consciousness.  Blue Highway is a band with heart.  They always speak to the plight of the less fortunate with an admirable empathy for the homeless and those down on their luck.

       Tell you what.  If you are unfamiliar with the genre, pick up one of their discs or take in a Blue Highway show.  This is a great band to cut your teeth on- modern and yet mindful of the tradition.  Tell ’em Dr. Bibey sent ya.  They’ll treat you like part of the bluegrass family. 

Dr. B

Explore posts in the same categories: favorite known bands

6 Comments on “Blue Highway 2008”

  1. John Holland Says:

    Hi Doc, I was at a bluegrass festival in Ct. years ago and got to hear them play, but the real treat was when I came across the band jamming up behind a camper. I stopped to listen and realized they were jamming with Jason Carter and Ronnie McCoury. They just kept on playing one tune after the other, I thought of the old joke about the postman going for a walk on his day off.

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Yeah, all these guys love to play. When folks say they shouldn’t be paid for playing music and having so much fun, I always say you ain’t paying for that. It is all the driving time, setting up equipment, diesel fuel, overhead etc. etc. The music part is for free.

    I believe it was Murphy Henry who was asked if informal jamming on her time off was like a proctologist doing sigmoids on his, and she asked how dare anyone compare bluegrass music to such a thing as that!

    Dr. B

  3. mrschili Says:

    I’m off to iTunes to see if I can find them there. I feel, now that I’m reading you AND Ted, that I ought to start figuring out what all the bluegrass fuss is about….

  4. drtombibey Says:


    Honest to goodness it is a music that stays true to itself. Tim Stafford is one of the best song writers in the country. See my old notes in “About Dr. Bibey” – for the most part it is a working man’s (or woman’s, there are lot of fine females in bluegrass) music, but every once in a while one of our folks will get a tune placed in the mainstream. That can pay the bills, but everyone playing bluegrass for a living does so because, like country doctoring, that is what they feel called to do. (Same is true for teaching, huh?)

    Check out their web site too at, I believe.

    Dr. B

  5. drtombibey Says:

    Hey thanks, Ms. Betty. Ole Doc Bibey loves the music, but needs a little help directing folks.

    For the most part mine is a fiction weblog, but after hearing Blue Highway Sunday I got to thinking that some of these bands deserve more exposure. I created the category “favorite known bands” on my weblog to accomodate that. The rest of the weblog is fiction, but folks, Blue Highway is for real.

    As I take in the shows of my personal favorites, I will highlight them. You can’t go wrong with Blue Highway, and I’ll let you know of others.

    Dr. B

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