Dave Adkins & Nu Blu

Dave-AdkinsDave Adkins
Rightfully Putting His Unique Bluegrass Voice Front And Center
By Derek Halsey

The biggest complaint that some in the bluegrass community have about modern day acts is the lack of individuality and uniqueness found in their music. The musicianship may be incredible, the vocals solid, and the new songs written for the genre may be right on point and new ideas may be explored. But, if you’re listening to bluegrass radio these days, it’s not unusual to find yourself looking up to read the name of the group currently playing to identify them. With many or most of the first generation bluegrass performers, you could tell who they were within the first few seconds of a song. That’s still the case with many of the top bands and artists in the genre today, and that is especially true with the powerful and soulful vocals and music of Dave Adkins.

Southeastern Kentucky-native Adkins has seen all sides of the music business, from going to Nashville to try and make it as a country star to singing in many bluegrass bands along the way. His best work, however, happens when he steps up to perform and record as himself, with the name Dave Adkins front and center. That’s exactly what he’s doing with his new album Right Or Wrong on Mountain Fever Records. Adkins starts off the 2018 bluegrass season with a strong effort, an album that showcases the depth of his amazing voice, and showcases a wonderful set of new songs.

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Finds Success As A Cross-Genre Outfit
By Michael K. Brantley

I always tell people we’re a bluegrass band and sometimes get a puzzled look from them,” said Nu-Blu cofounder Daniel Routh. “Then I have to explain what bluegrass is and we always tell them it’s acoustic music played with power and drive, upbeat, and with passion. Sometimes, we have to explain drive and I just say, ‘Think of your favorite rock band, playing acoustic, without drums.’ I know that’s not a full description of bluegrass, but you have to find a way to relate the music to something they can understand.”

Daniel and his wife, partner and co-founder Carolyn, have lots of conversations with fans that have had little exposure to bluegrass music. Nu-Blu is on the road over 200 days a year, playing all types of venues and to all types of audiences and music listeners. Those listeners often have outdated or simply untrue perceptions about what constitutes bluegrass.

Nu-Blu, which also features T.J. Honaker on vocals and banjo and Justin Harrison on vocals and mandolin, is out promoting its new album and sixth national release, Vagabonds, on Voxhall Records. The North Carolina-based band feels it is their strongest effort yet.

Daniel said, “When people ask about our sound, we tell them to listen to Vagabonds.”

While the album is new, the concept has been in the works for well over a decade. “The concept for this album came about when Carolyn heard Sawyer Brown do their song ‘Gypsies On Parade’ live. We’ve known since 2003 when we formed the band, we wanted to record this song. It sets the mood for the whole album, and the title comes out of that song—from a line that says: Vagabonds that got it made.”

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Finds Success As A Cross-Genre Outfit
By Michael K. Brantley

Dave Adkins
Rightfully Putting His Unique Bluegrass Voice Front And Center
By Derek Halsey

Reno’s Old Time Music Turns 25
By Larry Nager

Steve Bryant
Doing What He Loves
By Sandy Hatley

Bluegrass Unlimited’s Festival Guide Update

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February 2018 Reviews


NOTHIN’ FANCY IT’S A GOOD FEELING Mountain Fever MFR1 70922 Twenty-three years and eleven albums into their career, the five members of this Shenandoah Valley, Virginia band have hit an impressive stride and have clearly earned themselves a berth in contemporary bluegrass music’s front ranks. I have to confess that until listening to It’s A […]

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FELLER & HILL BROTHERS AND HEROES Rural Rhythm RUR-1139 What is not to like about this third release from Feller & Hill? In addition to some of the best harmony singing out there, there’s the rich and resonant lead vocals of Chris Hill, best exemplified on “Atlanta Is Burning,” the moderately-loping “Love Is A Stranger,” […]

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BULL HARMAN AND BULL’S EYE DRAW FOUR Bull’s Eye Records BER-1210 Of the instrumental musicianship in Bull Harman and Bull’s Eye, there can be little doubt. Bull, as anyone familiar with his work can attest, is an upper-tier bluegrass guitarist. His solos are imaginative. His lines are fluid. And he brings great energy to his […]

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BOBBY OSBORNE ORIGINAL Compass Records 746872    Let’s put the term “musical legend” aside here folks. It certainly applies to Bobby Osborne, who along with Jesse McReynolds and other true originals took the foundations of bluegrass mandolin, handed down by the great Big Mon, and introduced their own unique and invaluable contributions to that sound. And […]

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TIM STAFFORD ACOUSTIC GUITAR Hedge Drive Records HDR02 Tim Stafford, again and again, displays why he is one of the most talented people in bluegrass. A co-founder of Blue Highway, he’s contributed countless great songs, wonderful vocals, and stunning guitar work to that landmark band. He’s co-authored the definitive Tony Rice biography. And his solo […]

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MOTHER’S BOYS HOME AMONG THE HILLS Hen Cackle Records HC510-CD Mother’s Boys is four veterans of roots music from California: Peter Feldmann, Rick Cunha, Dave Dawson, and David Jackson. The subtitle of their new CD is: A Musical Tribute To The Carter Family. They are joined by guests Moira Smiley, Fred Sokolow, Aubrey Richmond, Susie […]

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DALE ANN BRADLEY Pinecastle Records PRC 1209 Once again, Ms. Bradley asserts her powerful pipes on a wide range of songs with a host of guest singers. Unlike years gone by when a popular or country song would sneak its way into a bluegrass project, here we are treated to a few bluegrass numbers among […]

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BILL & MAGGIE ANDERSON GRANDMA’S BREAD Vintage Acoustic Music VAM 011 This year saw the fiftieth anniversary that Bill and Maggie Anderson have been married and playing together as a duo. Bill plays guitar and bass while Maggie is quite skilled on resonator guitar. Their years of playing have been highlighted by appearances on PBS […]

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THE KEVIN PRATER BAND ALL I EVER WANTED Patuxent Music CD-306 Prater and band are old-school. They play and sing and make music they can reproduce on stage or in a field or wherever they are. Five pieces—banjo, mandolin, fiddle, bass, and guitar—get the job done. While there is no real knockout vocalist, they all […]

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