Drive – Béla Fleck Bluegrass Project

featuring Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Mark O’Connor, Tony Rice and Mark Schatz

Label: Rounder

Following Deviation and Inroads, both fairly modern and forward leaning albums, it seemed like a good time to reconnect to my roots. After guesting on Tony Rice’s Cold on the Shoulder album, I was convinced that an instrumental band that included Tony, Sam and Jerry would be able to take my tunes – and the music in general – to an amazing new place. And I wasn’t wrong. Mark Schatz was the perfect choice for bass, Stuart Duncan and Mark O’Connor alternated on the fiddle duties and played together on a couple of tunes as well. Stuart was a brand new face in Nashville, and I loved his deep connection to an older rootsy way of playing – yet his playing is packed with startling invention. Mark continued to be what Alan O’Bryant once called the ‘Mount St Helens’ of the fiddle, with an unrelenting flood of mind boggling ideas. Having both of them was just awesome. We cut this album over a three day weekend. I remember starting on Friday and finishing on Sunday, but I could be wrong. Everything seemed to happen by itself. Ironically this album didn’t sell much at the time, although it did get a grammy nomination, it didn’t seem to be highly recognized in the Bluegrass world. However as time has gone on, this album has become one of the special ones that people still talk about. If anyone asks me what bluegrass oriented project of mine they should check out out first – it’s always Drive.