Born out of a love of rock music and for the virtuosity of bluegrass musicians, CMH Records’ Pickin’ On series features the best in bluegrass, paying tribute to the biggest and brightest artists in rock and pop. One of the most successful titles in the collection is celebrating its 20th anniversary. First released October 14, 2003, Fade To Bluegrass: The Bluegrass Tribute to Metallica features high lonesome renditions of Metallica classics like “The Unforgiven,” “Enter Sandman,” “Fade to Black,” and more performed by Alabama-based quartet Iron Horse.
To commemorate the occasion, Iron Horse is releasing a new music video of their take on “Nothing Else Matters”; watch now here. Fade To Bluegrass is available on all digital platforms, CD and a very limited run of vinyl available at CMH’s online store.
Metallica’s thundering drums, heart-pounding guitars and anguished vocals tell the story of people lost in the hustle of modern society. Bluegrass music sings the tale of people stuck between heaven and hell, the farm and the city and love and hate. In many ways, Metallica and bluegrass are brothers–one raised in the urban jungle and the other in the country. So what happens when these two estranged siblings get together? Fade to Bluegrass: The Bluegrass Tribute to Metallica has the answer. Banjo and mandolin replace electric guitars and high lonesome harmonies soar in place of growling vocals to create a surprising and moving tribute. Performed with passion and skill by Iron Horse--Tony Robertson (mandolin), Vance Henry (guitar, lead vocals), Anthony Richardson (banjo) and Ricky Rogers (bass)--and featuring classics such as “Unforgiven,” “Enter Sandman” and “Fade to Black,” Fade to Bluegrass: The Bluegrass Tribute to Metallica is a family reunion between brothers heavy metal and bluegrass.
“Of all the projects we have done since this release, none compare to the wonderful journey we embarked on with Fade. It allowed us to step outside the norms of bluegrass as we knew it and grab a hold of a whole new way of thinking about relating our music,” shares Robertson. “Two genres, worlds apart, could actually be melted together and create a whole new listening experience. ‘Ride The Lightning’ was the song that, for me, encompassed all the musical creativity one could muster in arranging and performance of a song; it seemed like ‘riding lightning’ to perform it.”
Though Pickin’ On started modestly in 1993 with the release of Pickin’ On the Movies, tributes to The Beatles and Eagles soon followed, and by 1997 the Pickin’ On Series was on fire. It continues to thrive with one hand in traditional bluegrass and the other in popular music, ready for the next chance to create innovative bluegrass music.
Recent releases featuring Iron Horse, Pickin' On Pearl Jam and Pickin’ On Nirvana, were well-received and garnered press from Rolling Stone, Brooklyn Vegan, and Uproxx, among others. Pickin’ On Modest Mouse and Fade to Bluegrass: The Bluegrass Tribute to Metallica both charted on Billboard’s Top Bluegrass Albums chart. The series has also been given extensive retrospective write-ups by Los Angeles Times and No Depression and currently has nearly 200,000 monthly listeners and more than 93,000 followers on Spotify. Songs from Pickin’ On have been featured in the television series Revolution and HBO’s True Blood. Other artists that have been given the Pickin’ On treatment include Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, the Allman Brothers Band, Coldplay, The Black Keys, Jack White, The Killers and many more.
Track listing for Fade to Bluegrass: The Bluegrass Tribute to Metallica by Iron Horse:
2. Nothing Else Matters
3. Enter Sandman
4. Hero of the Day
5. Fade to Black
7. Ride the Lightning
8. Wherever I May Roam
10. The Four Horseman