Hot Rize Concert at the Clifton Center
The Clifton Center, 2117 Payne Street, will present a concert by Hot Rize, a bluegrass band from Colorado, on Friday, September 18th at 8:00pm.
The Clifton Center, located at 2117 Payne Street, will host a concert by one of the most influential bands in bluegrass history when Hot Rize appears on the Eifler Theater stage Friday, September 18 at 8:00pm. The band, who last performed in Louisville in 1987, is enjoying 4 nominations from the 2015 International Bluegrass Association Awards, including Album of the Year (When I'm Free), Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist (Tim O'Brien) and Guitarist (Bryan Sutton).
After 24 years away, Hot Rize is back in the saddle with a new album, When I'm Free, which has received rave reviews from critics and fans alike. Featuring three of the original members, they've added Grammy winner Bryan Sutton on guitar to replace Charles Sawtelle, who passed away in 2002.
It didn't take long after Tim O'Brien, Pete Wernick, Nick Forster, and Charles Sawtelle first appeared onstage together in 1978 for the bluegrass music world to realize that the Colorado band, Hot Rize, was something special. And by the time they bowed off the stage as a full-time act in 1990, they'd not only climbed to the top of that world as the International Bluegrass Music Association's very first Entertainers of the Year, but their stature was recognized across the board, with a nomination for a then-new bluegrass Grammy, a four-star album review in Rolling Stone, and tours across four continents.
The reasons for the acclaim were, and remain, obvious. Steeped in bluegrass tradition through long hours on the road spent listening to the genre's giants-their very name was a knowing nod to Flatt & Scruggs' long-time flour mill sponsor-Hot Rize's music was and is equally informed by a taste for the music of Leadbelly and Freddie King, swing, old-time Appalachia and more in ways that mirror the broad sweep of Bill Monroe's influences. And while their respect for tradition was easy to hear (and, thanks to their suits and vintage neckties, easy to see), the fresh elements they brought, whether in Sawtelle's guitar eccentricities or Wernick's deployment of an effects pedal on his banjo, were enough to earn them the suspicion of some audience members-and the devotion of many more.
So when Hot Rize retired, it was natural for members to go on to distinguished careers of their own. For bassist and multi-instrumentalist Forster, that meant building a blend of environmental concern and musical curation into the popular and influential show, eTown; for lead singer, mandolinist and fiddler O'Brien, recognition as an award-winning Americana and bluegrass master of singing and songwriting; for Sawtelle, a thriving career as guitarist, engineer and producer for a host of artists; and for Wernick, acclaim as a presenter of bluegrass and banjo camps, genre-bending bandleader, and 15-year president of the IBMA.
Even so, Hot Rize turned out to be the band that refused to disappear. Rare reunion shows, like the 1996 one captured for the acclaimed So Long Of A Journey CD (2002), kept the flame burning, and when Sawtelle passed away in 1999, the surviving members brought brilliant guitarist Bryan Sutton on board-himself an already-acknowledged master-and carried on with occasional appearances, bringing their classic songs and captivating stage show to new generations.
It's no surprise, then, that 24 years after their last studio album, the foursome brings an even deeper strength to bear on their new record, When I'm Free (Ten In Hand/Thirty Tigers), out September 30. And neither is it a surprise that, as it was in the beginning, the quartet felt compelled to bring something new to the table.
Hot Rize is presented as part of the Tilford Dobbins & Schmidt American Masters Series with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Louisville Metro Government, Music Go Round, West Sixth Street Brewing Company, DD Williamson, Republic Bank, Carmichael's Bookstore, 91.9 WFPK, and the Friends of the Clifton Center. The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, also provides operating support to the Clifton Center with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tickets are $32 and are available at Carmichael’s Bookstore, located at 2720 Frankfort Avenue, or online at www.cliftoncenter.org.
For more information, visit cliftoncenter.org or call (502) 896-6950.