Their exciting, unpredictable live shows have already been compared to watching a NASCAR race, and Songs From the Road Band is hurtling through 2021 at a speedy pace. In March, they hosted Asheville Winter Grass, a sold-out hometown weekend event; in April, they hosted Camp Stonefly, an intimate destination festival that featured music and camping. In between, this powerhouse band has been hard at work putting the finishing touches on their new album at Asheville’s famed Echo Mountain Recording studio.
“Amarillo Blue” is the latest in a string of singles to release ahead of Songs From the Road Band’s forthcoming album. Sung by mandolinist Mark Schimick, and anchored by the group’s trademark tight harmonies, “Amarillo Blue” offers a fresh perspective on a classic breakup tale.
“The road is a common theme in bluegrass music,” says Charles R Humphrey III, Songs From the Road Band’s bandleader and bassist. “It’s something every musician experiences - the long nights, the time away from home, the drives out to meet the band... ‘Amarillo Blue’ explores these themes and the effects the road can have on a relationship.”
Yet the song moves forward with an uptempo bounce, maintaining a hopeful sense of optimism. Exuberant solos from Schimick, banjoist Gabe Epstein, and fiddler James Schlender evoke the freedom and promise of the highway. Guitarist Sam Wharton and bassist Humphrey hold down a rock-solid rhythm that moves the story along. And, in the end, though our narrator’s heart is a little worse for the wear, he still can’t wait to get out on the road again.
“This song was a really fun co-write with Nick Dauphinais and Marty Dodson,” says Humphrey, “and it mirrors the enthusiasm we have for getting back out on the road after what’s been a difficult year for us all.”
“Amarillo Blue” releases to radio on Tuesday, May 18th, and to all streaming outlets on Tuesday, May 25th. Emerging from the pandemic with renewed energy and an eye for the future, Songs From the Road Band has a full calendar of summer tour dates, and looks forward to the release of their new album in the fall of 2021.
5/22 Station Inn - Nashville, TN
5/28 Whitewater Center River Jam - Charlotte, NC
6/12 Cherokee Bluegrass Festival - Cherokee, NC
6/18 Charleston Pour House - Charleston, NC
7/3 Silverados - Black Mountain, NC *performing w/ Jim Lauderdale
7/17 B Chord Brewing - Round Hill, VA *supporting Leftover Salmon
8/21 Chings & Strings - Boone, NC
9/10 Bristol Rhythm & Roots - Bristol, TN
9/11 Ohio River Festival