Bands come and go so quickly these days that it’s not often you find many celebrating five years of togetherness, let alone a decade. But that’s just what North Carolina’s modern bluegrass band Nu-Blu is doing with their new CD “Ten.”
Carolyn Routh sings lead on the majority of the tracks of Nu-Blu’s “Ten.” Her pure vocals ring out so smooth and strong, it’s hard to imagine that Routh’s voice was almost silenced by a series of strokes in November 2003, soon after the band was formed. At first, she was unable to talk or use the right side of her body, but with the help of the band’s guitarist-and now her husband-Daniel Routh, Carolyn battled back. Seeing her play and sing today, you’d never know the red-haired bass player had ever been ill.
In addition to the Rouths, Nu-Blu is made up of Levi Austin on banjo and Austin Koener’s mandolin.
While the band plays the same instruments as the originators of the bluegrass music did back in the 1940s, few of songs on Nu-Blu’s fifth album have that twangy old-school sound.
What’s Nu-Blu’s secret to surviving and staying on the road for 10 years when so many bands fall by the wayside?
Carolyn Routh says you have to love every minute of the job. Singing is all she’s ever wanted to do. Even so, being on the road constantly takes her away from family and friends. It’s the subject of “That Road.”
“That’s my dream job and I love every minute of it. I’m also a real homebody. And I love my family and I love my home," she said. "This song lets me be in both places. When I perform this song, I’m thinking about how much fun I’m having right there on that stage and, at the same time, how much I’m missing my family back at home. The song sort of bridges that gap for me.”
Nu-Blu is celebrating 10 years together not only with a new CD, but a busy schedule that sees the band booked throughout the United States well into next year - including a stint on a Caribbean cruise ship next winter. They hope to add overseas dates next year; until then you’ll have to be satisfied with all the live videos they’re posting to YouTube
and their website
While some of the songs on Nu-Blu’s “Ten” might be considered more pop or country, the albums sole instrumental track, “Giant Squid,” leaves no question that the band’s roots are firmly in the bluegrass camp.