Fresh off his stunning performance at the NY Banjo Summit, Pete Wernick brings his band to town for a Spring Stomp.
What people are saying about Hot Rize:
Good 21st century quotes about Hot Rize
“Hot Rize is the great modern bluegrass band. They're the connective tissue that links the great founders of bluegrass with the modern tradition. I think the world is waiting for Hot Rize." Steve Martin
“If it wasn’t for Hot Rize, we couldn’t do what we do.”
Ben Kaufmann, YMSB Bluegrass Now Aug. 2002
Nashville Festivals Examiner Chris Griffy For fans of Bluegrass music, That Tent was the place to spend the day on Friday as The Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Hot Rize, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers all played. Early reports from fans I spoke to say this was the place to be as many say Hot Rize’s performance [at Bonnaroo] is an early contender for best show of 2010 and that Steve Martin’s set was a true sight to see.
Jambands.com [commenting on Old Settlers Festival set, Austin, TX 2004:]
If this set was any indication, Hot Rize has made a mighty comeback. dazzled the crowd with sheer musical wizardry, pulling soul and feeling out of every moment.
Hotbands.com 04: Their performance at Tacoma's 1st Baptist Church to a completely packed house of over 800 fans (with more waiting outside in near freezing temperatures to hear what they could) was a spiritual and inspirational performance that would be hard to top.
festivalpreview.com Aug. 09: One of the most popular bluegrass bands in the world, Hot Rize, concluded the 2009 RockyGrass festival. The strong writing and musicianship of all the players, Tim O'Brien on mandolin and fiddle, Pete Wernick on banjo, Nick Forster on bass, and relative newcomer (since 2002) Bryan Sutton on guitar, makes them a powerhouse unit. And although they do not play regularly together, as they each have their own commitments, this team put out a top-notch bunch of classics bringing back memories from their full-time touring days.
It seems that nothing has changed in the 30 years since they began - and that's a good thing in this camp - as even their funky ragtag swing persona "Red Knuckles And The Trailblazers" were still hanging around. All the tunes brought broadening smiles to our faces one after the other until the love was overflowing. There was no doubt that everyone left tremendously happy.
From gratefulweb.com July 2012 Hot Rize is a band that has always been in my thoughts. Loving to read the insights of the artists I listen to, I had heard their name from many of the newgrass players that fall in the jamband scene. When I finally saw this quartet on Saturday night, I immediately recognized the seedling that they planted in all of those players they influenced. Their solos are much more exploratory than the traditional bluegrass band, allowing the tempo to change, the mood of the song to wander, all based on the improvisation of the leader at the time. And this band does not lack for a talented leader when it comes to playing, as well as creative song crafting. With Tim O’Brien on guitar, mandolin and fiddle, Pete Wernick on banjo, Nick Forster (the host of E-town on NPR) on bass and Bryan Sutton on guitar, this band is as recognizable individually as they are as a unit. When they left the stage and returned portraying their alter egos in the band Red Knuckles and the trail Blazers, their influence on players like Jeff Austin, Michael Kang and Mike Gordon was truly evident.
From Stomp & Stammer’s ROCK-O METER, Atlanta, GA Oct, 2011
The best bluegrass band of all time? Maybe not, who’s to say? But Hot Rize is certainly the best bluegrass show you’ve never seen… until now. After ushering in Newgrass in the late ‘70s until their breakup in 1990, Hot Rize rose to the top of the bluegrass pile with their hot licks, blended chops, vocal harmonies and top-drawer songwriting. Lead vocalist/mandolinist/fiddler Tim O’Brien is a wonder unto himself but playing next to Dr. Banjo and Nick Forster, whos electric bass challenges any dog-house purist, provides the sweetest musical blend… In 2002 Hot Rize added flat-picking chamption Bryan Sutton an sporadically retured to the road. … An added treat is Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers, who’ll take the stage for a set of western swing and country and share their interpretation of “the Hanks” and other honky-tonk favorites.
Colorado band Hot Rize formed in 1978 with a unique and exciting style of bluegrass. Named after the secret ingredient in Martha White Flour, a long-term sponsor of bluegrass music, the band started. Hot Rize was considered both a progressive bluegrass band and a traditional bluegrass band, taking the bluegrass world by storm with their fresh, contemporary approach to traditional music. Their dynamic stage show made them stars on the major festival circuit, and their powerful original songs constantly topped radio playlists.
In 1990 Hot Rize was named Entertainer of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association, the first such award ever given out by the organization. The band included Tim O'Brien (vocals, mandolin, fiddle), Pete Wernick (banjo, vocals), Charles Sawtelle (guitar, vocals), and Nick Forster (guitar, bass guitar, vocals, and the band's emcee). This lineup lasted 12 years without change.
Their final studio album, Take It Home, came out in 1990; O'Brien and Wernick subsequently went on to pursue solo careers, and Nick Forster began and still hosts and co-produces the syndicated radio music program, e-town. Many Hot Rize reunion shows and festival appearances took place throughout the 90s until the untimely death of Charles Sawtelle in 1999.
In 2002 a live album, So Long of a Journey, came out, with the band in top form at two 1996 shows at the Boulder Theater in Colorado. The album garnered rave reviews and the honor of Best Bluegrass Album (traditional) of 2002 by the respected County Sales.
That year also saw the band re-form for several major festival appearances, with O'Brien, Wernick, Forster, along with the great Bryan Sutton on guitar.
Since 2002, with the same lineup, Hot Rize has performed several shows a year, and now includes their old western music sidekicks (and alter egos) Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers. Red and the boys also had a personnel change and are back in fine form with their new bass player Swade. Devotees from past years are joined by many younger fans hearing the band for the first time, and the response has been electric.
Having passed the 30-year mark since its inception, Hot Rize continues to enhance its reputation as one of the leading bluegrass bands of its day.