So Long of a Journey: Live at the Boulder Theater
Sugar Hill CD SUG-CD-3943, 2002 (65:48)
Colorado's finest bluegrass, live
Linda Dailey Paulson, 8 September 2002
When Hot Rize walked on stage in 1996, it was their first tour in six years and for it, they brought along some folks to capture the event. The result is So Long of a Journey, recorded on two consecutive nights in their hometown of Boulder, Colorado.
Gee whiz, this is powerful stuff. Mighty powerful.
The true test of any group isn't how sweet they sound after some engineer has waved over several DAT tracks with ProTools, it's the live unretouched sound. This is the real deal. The band, for those unfamiliar with Hot Rize, is Tim O'Brien (mandolin and fiddle), Pete Wernick (banjo), Charles Sawtelle (guitar) and Nick Forster (bass). They played together a couple of decades, devoting full attention to the band for about a dozen years.
For their set lists, the band selected favorites and classics such as "Working on a Building" (chill bumps guaranteed) and "Walk the Way the Wind Blows." They kick off strong with "Blue Night" and segue into the gospel number "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning." Tunes such as "The Butcher's Dog" give the guys a chance to show their instrumental chops. Someone in the crowd screams for "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," and they oblige. It's an interesting combination of the stuff that makes for good bluegrass - country blues and gospel - with impeccable harmony vocals and dynamite playing. "Won't You Come and Sing for Me" is the album's poignant coda. In addition to documenting Hot Rize live, this serves as fitting memorial to Charles Sawtelle, who passed away in 1999. In his liner notes Forster says it best: "This is what we sounded like on a good night." Indeed.
Glenn says.... The only thing missing from this CD is the appearance of country boogie alter-egos Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers, a highlight of most Hot Rize performances. You can catch them on In Concert: Hot Rize with Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers, on Flying Fish.
performers Tim O'Brien, mandolin and fiddle; Pete Wernick, banjo; Charles Sawtelle, guitar; Nick Forster, bass
songs Blue Night · Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning · Empty Pocket Blues · Introductions · Radio Boogie · Just Like You · Climbing up a Mountain · Walkin' the Dog · Frank's Blues · A Voice on the Wind · Shadows in My Room · Nellie Kane · The Butcher's Dog · Working on a Building · Walk the Way the Wind Blows · Foggy Breakdown · High on a Mountain · Colleen Malone · Life's Too Short · Won't You Come and Sing for Me