Nu-Blu — Their New
Jaw-Dropping Bluegrass Album!
When it comes to Nu-Blue’s style of bluegrass, the grass is ocean-blue, so deeply nestled in the fields of Kentucky you can almost smell it.
Made up of husband/wife duo Daniel and Carolyn Routh, Levi Austin, and Austin Koerner, they have a new album out entitled All the Way, which released September 16. The title is fitting because that is where they are headed. I am proud to say that the genre of bluegrass music that I grew up on and hold so near and dear to my heart is in good hands. Its future is safe.
All the Way proves it. Here are my top five reasons why:
- With a song paying tribute to the greatest country singer that ever lived, George Jones — and there have been a fair amount of tributes — the song “Jesus and Jones” is my favorite one yet
- Also on the album is the legendary soulful Rock and Roll Hall of Fame vocalist Sam Moore on his first ever bluegrass collaboration. And he nails it.
- Also, the Queen of Bluegrass, Rhonda Vincent, lends her vocals to the opening track, “That’s What Makes Bluegrass Blue.”
- There’s a song that will make the hairs on your skin stand up called, “A Little Good News.” Just trust me on that one.
- Carolyn Routh, to me, is the breathtaking heir to the kingdom that Alison Krauss built. Carolyn has one of the most beautiful, heartfelt voice in the genre.
Be sure to check out this video of Fox News’s Huckabee show from September 20, when they played “Jesus and Jones” live from New York with Sam Moore.
I spoke with Carolyn Routh over the phone about the album:
“Jesus and Jones” is my favorite tribute song to the late George Jones. Could you discuss it with us and tell us how you got the legendary Sam Moore to collaborate on it?
I have a friend in Nashville, Sherril Blackmon, who is a publisher who pitches songs, and we found out that he is a Carolina boy originally, so we struck a chord and friendship early on and he had sent us numerous songs that we recorded and done really well with, and he got this song from writers Rick Tiger and Cherri Heffner, and sent it to me immediately and said, “You have got to hear this song,” and the minute we heard it we all just fell in love with it. We recognized immediately that this song was something special and the writing is so good in it and it is so heartfelt and sincere. We went back and forth and around [on it]. They were originally wanting to pitch it to several country artists. Obviously songwriters are always wanting the best for their music , and to get out there as big as they can. Thankfully, they agreed to let us cut it, and we decided in listening to it and working through it that it would work really well as a duet, and we talked to Kurt Webster who you [Josh] are friends with and very familiar with, and we had discussed Sam Moore. We knew that Sam had sang on the George Jones tribute show, and it brought the house down and Sam and George had been friends, and it was really important to us to make that connection back to George. We thought it would be really special to get somebody that was actually friends with George to record it with us, and Kurt made the introduction and connection with Sam for us, and the rest I guess as they say now is history. Sam Moore is such an awesome vocalist and even greater person. He has just got the biggest heart and such a professional. He walked in the studio and just opened his mouth and the tone just fell out on the microphone.
[Note: this interview took place before the Mike Huckabee taping.] Are you excited for your performance on Fox News’s Huckabee Show?
I am so excited about it. I can’t believe it is just next week. Seems like we have been waiting for this, and it is just next week, and I am kind of pinching myself. Obviously this is big, it is really big for our bluegrass band and for North Carolina to be making the Huckabee Show, and we’re all so excited and pumped to get up there and get to meet the Governor and talk to him and be on the show and hope that we make our friends and our genre proud.
You also had Rhonda Vincent on this record on the song “What Makes Bluegrass Blue.” How did that come about?
She is another artist that is simply amazing. We are so blessed to be able to work with so many artists that really care about the music and that want to make it the best that they can and to make themselves available and to help out other artists and to work with people on other collaborations. I emailed Rhonda and explained we had this song and that we would love to get her to put some vocals on it, and she emailed me back within the hour and said, “We would be happy to, go ahead and send me the song and tomorrow I will go ahead and cut it.” It was that easy, and it really kind of blew me away that she responded that fast. She is so busy. She has got so many irons in the fire. I don’t personally know of anybody in the industry that works harder than Ronda Vincent does or has as long as Rhonda Vincent does. She is always on top of everything. She asked me what part I wanted her to sing on the song, and I said whatever you want, whatever feels right to you, and she came back with that high baritone part, and she absolutely blew it out of the water. We were all so thrilled when we heard it. I knew she would do a great job, but she surpassed a great job of it.
You husband Daniel is in the band also. How do you make that work?
Yes, he is, he is the guitar player. Odd is not the right word. When Daniel and I first started and when we first met we met playing music together. We met through bands and through music and we got to be best friends through music. We weren’t dating, we didn’t actually date for years after we had met and were playing music together. We developed this really strong friendship, and we both had these very high goals in the music industry and knew what we wanted to do and what we would like to accomplish in the years to come, and it just became this great friendship, and so then when it developed beyond friendship and we started dating and eventually got married, the friendship is still there and I think that is what helps us be able to survive in such close proximity all of the time and not kill each other. There are days that are trying, obviously. I would be lying if I said that there weren’t. Usually it is over small things though and it resolves pretty quickly and at the base of everything is that friendship and that mutual respect, and our love is really strong for each other. We make it work and it doesn’t really seem like work and we have a great time and I could not imagine being out on the road without him and not have him by my side. I couldn’t imagine being on-stage and not having him there with me.