“It was scary, you know. But this is our dream, and we’re gonna be happy doing what we’re doing. And now, we’ve got our tenth anniversary this year.” – Daniel Routh, Nu-Blu
To step out and decide to make a living in music takes a tremdendous leap of personal and professional courage. For Daniel and Carolyn Routh, however, the husband-and-wife team that founded Nu-Blu, it became a necessity, the way to maintain the life-giving force of their music. Today, even as they continue to grow and reach loftier and bigger goals, they have reason to celebrate: the release of their new project, Ten, on their new record label, Rural Rhythm Records. Along with the project comes a tour that will keep the band on the road entertaining fans new and old through the rest of the year. Nu-Blu is partnered with QSC Speakers, Peterson Tuners, Neumann Microphones and D’Addario Strings, in association with Sam Ash Music Stores.
Nu-Blu, based in Siler City in central North Carolina, is comprised of Carolyn, who handles bass and vocals; Levi Austin on vocals and banjo; Austin Koerner, who plays mandolin; and Daniel, who is the band’s Renaissance Man – guitarist, singer, manager, and tour coordinator, among many other roles. The group brings its lively and entertaining version of Americana-bluegrass music to audiences across the nation year-round. Their sound acknowledges the traditional institutions that have shaped it, yet is innovative and daring enough to bring a fresh sparkle to contemporary acoustic music that lands them squarely in the forefront of bands blazing the trail in Americana entertainment. Influences range from the sounds of original bluegrass pioneers like Earl Scruggs, Jimmy Martin and Lester Flatt to rock bands of the 1980’s, and modern contemporary sounds such as Alison Krauss and Union Staion. Carolyn’s soprano vocal approach might be described as similar to Ms. Krauss, except she carries a phrasing and emotional elegance that shows a clear originality. Daniel and Levi provide inventive lead and harmony vocals to fill out the vocal sound, while all four members present instrumental prowess to impress.
The band is finding themselves more and more at home on the bluegrass, gospel, and Americana charts, most recently with the evocative “Martha and Mary,” written by Becky Buller and Nancy Cardwell. They are now set to continue their chart trend with the songs from Ten. The first single is the up-tempo “That Road,” by Honi Deaton. Other songs from the new record include “It’s a Good Day To Be With You,” “Without a Kiss,” “Eddie’s Garage,” “Trains I Didn’t Take,” “Giant Squid,” penned by Nu-Blu’s own Austin Koerner, and the patriotic “All Americans.”
What’s ahead for Nu-Blu? Plenty, you may believe that. Every year, the band logs more miles on the road than the year before, plays more shows than the year before, sleeps more nights on the bus than the year before. But for Daniel, Carolyn, Levi and Austin, it’s not a chore, it’s a way of life. It’s not slogging from one venue to the next, it’s another opportunity to touch their audiences’ lives with music, that great universal bond which closes the gaps of humanity and brings lightness to hearts, smiles to faces and redemption to souls.
“If we can touch somebody on a deep level,” says Daniel, “and create a moment for them that they always will remember and entertains them, that’s gold. If we can say to someone,‘Hey, check this out. If you like this, you’re probably going to like Bill Monroe. You just never knew you did.’ It’s hard work, but if we have the chance to touch people’s lives, that’s why we’re here.”