Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet




Recommend: 01, 02, 06 Review by Steven “Nick” Nickelson of Nu-Blue Nights: If you've ever seen the movie O Brother Where Art Thou, then you get the gist of bluegrass. Unlike most other genres of music, bluegrass aficionados are a passionate bunch, and will go most anywhere to listen to a bluegrass group. Furthermore, most bluegrass players and singers will jam at the drop of a hat, and most instruments are played “unplugged”. Having said that, I will admit that my tastes lean toward this particular genre. Much like another genre (blues), most artists check their egos at the door. (A case in point – Levi Austin is an award-winning banjo picker, yet he fits like a glove with this group). Check out the pickin' on “My Sweet Carolyn”, which he co-wrote with Daniel Routh, Carolyn's husband and band member. One of the best examples of this is the enormous contribution to the Nights cd by fiddler extraordinaire Greg Luck (“Lonesome Whistles”, “How Do I Move On”, among others). This is the sophomore release from this group, and I think the greater contribution by Greg Luck in this subsequent progression from 2005's first release has added a greater depth to this release. And yet the music sounds edgy but thoughtful, sparse but deep (“River of Love”), rich but mournful (“Old Black Suit”), uptempo Bluegrass at it's finest (“I Won't Be Around”), and sometimes a beautiful re-working of a song from a different genre (Nanci Griffith's “Spin On A Red Brick Floor”). And unlike most other genres, even the instrumentals (“Red Haired Boy”) are enthusiastically welcomed by the listeners, because they appreciate the amount of work that has gone into playing in such a tight-knit ensemble (such as Nu-Blu). On several cuts of this cd I can pick out an almost perfect imitation of Alison Krauss (“Try And Catch The Wind”, “Lonesome Mountain”). I don't think it is intentional, but it just sounds so eerily like her. If you have never heard bluegrass, this is one to cut your eyeteeth on! ------Nick

ARTIST BIO Daniel and Carolyn Routh, along with Kendall Gales and Levi Austin make up Nu-Blu - a band that projects a dynamic edge while still staying grounded in the traditions and fundamentals of bluegrass music. They have worked hard to develop a sound that gives the listener a diverse experience, while remaining within the realms of bluegrass. By mixing original and traditional material along with incorporating songs from other genres, Nu-Blu has created a unique and driving blend of music that keeps audiences coming back for more. They are a dedicated team that work together to reach their common goal of presenting great music every show. Carolyn and Daniel Routh, the founding members of Nu-Blu, make up half of this “hard-driving” band. Carolyn began taking the stage at the age of 7. Even though she attended many bluegrass events, the “bug” never really bit her. In high school she was introduced to Broadway style musicals where she gained much knowledge and experience under the direction of Dr. Joanne Bowman. In the years that followed, Gospel, Country, Blues and Rock and Roll all shaped and expanded her vocal style and achievements. It was while fronting one of her bands, Faithful Journey, that she met Daniel Routh. Daniel began playing guitar at the age of 15. Banjo soon followed, which he played in the bands Different Directions and The Donna Hughes Band. It was while playing in Donna’s band that he and Carolyn met. After a chance meeting in Wal-Mart, Daniel learned that Carolyn was in need of a bass player, so he agreed to learn bass to fill the spot. After Faithful Journey disbanded, and a short time playing together in a classic rock band, they attended a festival that Carolyn’s long time friend John Wade was performing at. It only took till the second song by Lonesome River Band to bring Carolyn back to her roots. “I have told Sammy Shelor many times that he is directly responsible for my bluegrass addiction,” Carolyn says. Together they started Nu-Blu in the fall of 2003. Through the music, the pair had become best friends. During Thanksgiving weekend in 2003, Carolyn suffered two strokes and nearly lost her life. She lost her speech and the use of her right side. Daniel was her constant companion through it all and never left her side in the months of rehab that followed. On June 16, 2006, Daniel and Carolyn married and Carolyn often states, “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.” Daniel now back to playing guitar, focuses on different styles of guitar and incorporates them together in his playing. Not only does he add his guitar talents to Nu-Blu, but he also contributes lead and harmony vocals. With Carolyn playing bass, handling lead vocals, and most of the tenor, her vocal range and clarity are what put the “NU” in Nu-Blu., she gives the band flexibility and a driving edge that sets them apart from the rest.

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.