Formed in 1994, Blue Highway has become a super group that has the ability to please both the traditional and the contemporary bluegrass fan. Amazingly, the band has retained all five of its founding members right to the present day—a stretch of almost 19 years. The group is blessed with three great singers: Wayne Taylor, Shawn Lane and Tim Stafford, and it sparkles instrumentally as well, led by the stellar Dobro work of Rob Ickes, who has won the IBMA’s Dobro Player of the Year an astounding 14 times. Stafford, after a stint with the fine regional band Dusty Miller, became a key member of Alison Krauss’ Union Station Band, playing guitar and contributing vocals, until leaving Union Station in order to stay closer to home. Shawn Lane was a featured member of Ricky Skaggs’ band before helping to establish Blue Highway, playing both mandolin and fiddle.
The group hit the scene with a bang, winning the IBMA’s prestigious Bluegrass Album of the Year award in 1996 for their magnificent debut CD It’s A Long, Long Road. Over the years they have won other IBMA awards including Vocal Group of the Year and Song of the Year. Wind To The West and Midnight Storm were equally successful follow-up records, with the latter containing their classic rendition of their gospel song “Some Day.” Some of the group’s best recordings also appear on a Rebel “Vault Master” collection entitled Lonesome Pine.
USA TODAY contributor Brian Mansfield succinctly puts the material into perspective: “If Blue Highway is a super group, in retrospect, the quintet’s three albums for Rebel made it one. The acclaim has continued, the awards have continued, and Blue Highway has grown its sound and its audience with each new release. Blue Highway has never contented itself with setting its music on cruise control…the destinations remain limitless, the group’s horizons ever expanding.”