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Blue Highway leads to the Down Home

January 15th, 2014 12:54 pm by Entertainment Staff

Blue Highway leads to the Down Home

Contributed photo.

At the 17-year mark, Blue Highway is indisputably one of the most esteemed and influential groups in contemporary bluegrass. The band’s nine exceptional albums and compelling live performances give proof to the stellar reviews, Grammy nominations and numerous awards earned by the band since it first took the stage on Dec. 31, 1994, with the same musicians that comprise Blue Highway today.

With a deep bench of virtuosic songwriters, vocalists and instrumentalists, Blue Highway’s hallmark is an unwavering commitment to the ensemble, the “democracy of the band” that makes Blue Highway a powerhouse.

The group will take the stage at 8 p.m., Jan. 16 and 17 at the Down Home, 300 W. Main St. in Johnson City.

Individually, Jason Burleson (banjo, guitar, mandolin), Rob Ickes (Dobro), Shawn Lane (mandolin, fiddle, vocals), Tim Stafford (guitar, vocals) and Wayne Taylor (bass, vocals) are masters of their respective roles. Together, in Stafford’s words, they are “a democracy in the best sense of the word” — five gifted artists selflessly merging their talents into a seamlessly brilliant group sound. As a result, the band moves from strength to strength, more mature and impressive with each new album.

Blue Highway has five gifted writers in its ranks. Ickes and Burleson turn out the heart-pounding instrumentals, while the others give Blue Highway a depth of songwriting talent unprecedented in 60 years of bluegrass bands.

Kingsport native Stafford organized Blue Highway in 1994 after a stint with Alison Krauss & Union Station. Burleson, who hails from Newland, N.C. is the band’s original banjo player. Ickes is a Northern California native who moved to Nashville in 1992 and joined Blue Highway as a founding member in 1994. Lane cut his musical teeth in the bands of Ricky Skaggs and Doyle Lawson before joining Blue Highway as a founding member. Taylor, a gifted songwriter, vocalist and bassist, is also a founding member.

With 10 highly-acclaimed albums to its credit, Blue Highway has garnered two Grammy nominations, a Dove Award, topped the Bluegrass Unlimited radio charts, and won numerous International Bluegrass Music Association awards.
Tickets are $25 and can be purchased in advance or at the door on the night of the show. Tickets can also be purchased at Campbells Morrell Music, 118 W. Market St. in Johnson City, during regular business hours.

For more information, call 929-9822 or visit

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