Hot Rize to close out 2016-17 Southern Soul & Song series

The Morris Museum of Art is concluding its 2016-2017 Budweiser True Music Southern Soul & Song Series with an offering of the internationally-known bluegrass band Hot Rize at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, at the Imperial Theatre. SPECIAL

The Morris Museum of Art is concluding its 2016-2017 Budweiser True Music Southern Soul &Song Series with an offering of the internationally known bluegrass band Hot Rize.

 

The Colorado-based group takes the stage of the Imperial Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10.

Or rather their alternative performing selves, billed as “Red Knuckles &The Trailblazers,” takes the stage performing ’40s and ’50s traditional country music.

It’s sort of like when The Statler Brothers did their Lester Moran &The Cadillac Cowboys alternative, old-time western radio act.

Tickets are $15, $23, $28 available online at imperialtheatre.com, at the theater’s box office or by calling (706) 722-8341.

Since forming in 1977, the band has built up a huge following through its appearances on the popular cable TV series A Prairie Home Companion and Austin City Limits as well as The Nashville Network’s New Country and Nashville Now with Ralph Emery shows.

The band had its early beginnings when New York City banjo player Peter Wernick in the late 1960s joined his first bluegrass band, Orange Mountain Boys, while studying at Columbia University. Other musical groups followed with Wernick and his wife, Joan, moving in 1976 to Colorado where Wernick co-founded the band Hot Rize with Charles Sawtelle, Nick Forster and Tim O’Brien. Its name came from a description used with bluegrass music sponsor Martha White Flour.

They began traveling across the U.S. and into Canada in a 1969 Cadillac Sedan deVille before stepping up to touring in a converted 1957 Greyhound bus. Eventually their tours took them to such far destinations as Japan, Australia, Ireland and Finland.

The group disbanded in 1990, which was the same year the band won the first Entertainer of the Year award from the International Bluegrass Music Association.

O’Brien, who earned two Grammy Awards for other musical projects and won the IBMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year award twice, had a Top 10 duet country record, The Battle Hymn of Love, with Kathy Mattea.

By 2002, after the death of Sawtelle, the band had re-formed with Bryan Sutton on guitar.

Its many albums and appearances at the best known bluegrass festivals has solidified Hot Rize’s place in American music history.

 

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