Hot Rize – Bluegrass Unlimited

by | 16 Sep, 2010

Landmark Bluegrass Band Still Hot After All These Years

This month’s edition of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine features the band Hot Rize which is a band that has been around the bluegrass music scene for over 30 years.

Hot Rize had been one of the biggest acts in bluegrass in the 1980s, recording nine albums and charting hits such as ‘Colleen Malone’ and ‘Just Like You’. They performed on national TV and radio and at venues and festivals in 47 states and across ten countries. Like Jerry Lewis, the Trailblazers became unnaturally popular in France – Bluegrass Unlimited.

Original band members were Tim O’Brien on lead and harmony vocals, mandolin and fiddle; Pete Wernick on banjo and harmony vocals; Charles Sawtelle on guitar, harmonies and lead vocals. Mike Scap, the group’s original guitarist, departed after three months and was replaced by Nick Forster on bass, with Sawtelle switching from bass to guitar. Forster also became the group’s emcee and main harmony singer. Hot Rize recorded its self-titled debut album, a blend of traditional and new material, in 1979. Their second album, Radio Boogie, came out in 1981. On the strength of their first records and national touring, Hot Rize rose to prominence in the early 80’s, appearing frequently on such national broadcasts as NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion and The Nashville Network’s Ralph Emery Show. Their stage show gained renown, featuring their strong and soulful bluegrass combined with their wacky but musically deft, alter-ego country swing band, Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers. The group has performed in almost every state, as well as Europe, Japan, and Australia.

Read the full article in Bluegrass Unlimited.