A new song is available today from Alan Bibey & Grasstowne. “Hitchhiking to California” is the group’s first release on Billy Blue Records and will appear on the forthcoming AB&G album.
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Since first hitting the scene in the early 1980s, Alan Bibey has made a name for himself as one of the most technically gifted mandolinists in bluegrass and acoustic music. An original member of such ground-breaking bands as The New Quicksilver, IIIrd Time Out, and BlueRidge, he has spent the past 12 years as Alan Bibey & Grasstowne.
Alan shares some history behind the new single. One of Bibey’s favorite bluegrass bands has always been Boone Creek. Wes Golding played guitar in that band, and when the group broke up, Golding moved back to North Carolina, to the area where Bibey was raised. Golding was something of a hero to young Bibey, who was thrilled to be invited to play in a regional band that included Golding. At that time, Alan was just 16 years old. The seeds of a lifelong friendship had been sown.
“A few years later, I began playing professionally with the New Quicksilver,” Bibey says. “We recorded ‘I’m Country’ and ‘Hitchhiking to California,” both Wes Golding originals. That was back in 1985. So when we started this new project, I had the idea to redo the song, and Jerry [Salley] and I both agreed we’d love a third verse.”
With Wes Golding’s blessing, Bibey and Salley wrote a new verse and reworked a few other things in the song for its new release.
“Writing with Wes a little in the last few years has been awesome,” Bibey says. “He told me it’s the first time he’s co-written with anyone since he and Ricky Skaggs wrote ‘One Way Track.’ Now, that is very cool, indeed. Wes is a dear friend, and I’m happy to include this song on our new album.”
Newly signed to Billy Blue records, Alan Bibey is currently finalizing the rest of the forthcoming album, which is slated for an early 2021 release.
Bibey’s highly-awarded history includes being named 2019 IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year as well as previously for Instrumental Album of the Year, Album of the Year and Recorded Event of the Year. Additionally, Bibey was voted Mandolin Performer of the Year by SPBGMA six times, including 2018, 2019 and 2020. He was also included in the Mel Bay book, “Greatest Mandolin Players of the Twentieth Century,” and in 2004, the Gibson Company put into production the Alan Bibey Signature line of mandolins, reaffirming his status as one of the most influential mandolin players in Bluegrass and acoustic music history.