With Out Maps or Charts
Bluegrass is surely a people's music. Folks who have never crossed paths are suddenly brought together by a shared passion for music with roots as old as the hills. Such is the story of Hit & Run Bluegrass, Colorado's newest offering to the bluegrass and acoustic music scene. The band formed in early 2002 with a common vision of authentic-yet-modern bluegrass. Only a few months later, the group of stellar pickers won the 2002 Rockygrass Band Competition in Lyons, CO. Less than a year after that, Hit & Run took first place at the 2003 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Contest, making them the first and only band to win both contests. According to Denver's Westword newspaper, 'Something's got to be up when one bluegrass band suddenly surpasses all the others. Here in Colorado, that band is Hit & Run.' 'Hit & Run is far and away the most exciting up-and-coming bluegrass act in Colorado right now,' shares Eric Pirritt, Colorado talent buyer for Boulder's Fox Theatre. 'They have been able to harness a style of bluegrass that has both young kids and older folks lining up in the streets for their show, each and every time they play.' Hit & Run's appeal may be their youthful energy combined with their contemporary sound, inspired by the hardcore grooves of Alison Krauss & Union Station, Blue Highway, and the Tony Rice Unit, among other favorites. Hit & Run tastefully interprets standard bluegrass and traditional tunes, and they skillfully craft original tunes; their music is 'handspun yet motor-driven, a well-oiled machine of sound produced by men and women with flying fingers and high, lonesome voices.' (Westword) You may have met these young pickers around campfires in Colorado. Todd Livingston, known for ripping, lonesome, blues solos, has been turning heads as the 2001 Rockygrass Dobro Champion; his apprenticeship with Grammy-winner Sally Van Meter is evident by his tasteful arrangements and backup. John Frazier's mandolin virtuosity has garnered him recognition as one of Colorado's premier mandolinists. He was the visionary of the popular Tall Trees Grove in Boulder for three years, where he gained a following for his singing and songwriting; his 'classic' sounding original songs are an integral part of Hit & Run's repertoire. Banjo champion Aaron Youngberg brings a loyal Fort Collins fan base to the band along with his hard-drivin' orginal tunes. 21-year-old Erin Coats grew up playing the bass since age nine with her banjo-pickin' dad in Wyoming. Her powerful bluegrass voice has been known to blow off a roof or two. Rebecca Hoggan has received national attention in Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, Bluegrass Unlimited, and Bluegrass Now for her flatpicking guitar and vocal accomplishments, which are exhibited on her debut solo release, 'Born in East Virginia.' Rebecca has also been recognized for her mandolin work with Boulder's All Night Honky Tonk All Stars. Both John and Rebecca have recently collaborated with Richard Greene, formerly the fiddle player for Bill Monroe & the Blue Grass Boys. Alongside Gene Libbea, the quartet played a number of Greene's 2003 Colorado concerts. Two-time Grammy winner Gene Libbea joined the band as bass-player/singer from January to June 2003, while Erin Coats took a leave of absence. His 13-year tenure with the Nashville Bluegrass Band, as well as his 30-plus years of experience as a professional musician, brought priceless ideas and input to Hit & Run Bluegrass during that time. Gene produced the band's four-song studio demo, released in the spring of 2003, and has been Hit & Run's coach and mentor since 2002. Says Libbea: 'This band has immense talent. They are destined to go far.' Hit & Run was invited to record their debut album, 'Beauty Fades,' at Doobie Shea Studios in Boones Mill, Virgnia. Tim Austin, founder of the Lonesome River Band and Doobie Shea Records, produced and engineered the project in January, 2004. A March 17 release date is expected. 'It is easy to see why Hit & Run is moving up so quickly-their music is powerful and their professionalism is amazing for such a young band,' comments George Gertz, producer of the Sunlight Bluegrass Festival. Since 2002 Hit & Run has been invited to share the bill with Hot Rize, Jerry Douglas Band, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Sam Bush Band, Open Road, Jim Hurst Band, Dale Ann Bradley, Yonder Mountain String Band, among other first class acoustic acts. In 2004, Hit & Run will have played at every major bluegrass festival in Colorado, and graced many of the state's beautiful theaters. With a full schedule lined up for the 2003 & 2004 festival seasons, including Rockygrass and Telluride, this hard drivin' bluegrass band plans to share as much energy and enthusiasm as possible in the years to come.