Tales from the Acoustic Planet Vol 2, the Bluegrass Sessions

Earl Scruggs, Vassar Clements, John Hartford, Sam Bush, Tony Rice, Jerry Douglas, Mark Schatz, Stuart Duncan

Label: Warner Brothers

It had been over 10 years since the making of the Drive album, and by now it was a very highly regarded album. Every time I saw Tony Rice he’d say in that scratchy voice of his – “Hey man, when are we making ‘Drive Two’?” I wasn’t into calling it Drive Two, but I was sure into playing that kind of music again with those guys. Warners was dubious about a bluegrass recording, but I convinced them it would be something awesome, and they let me have my head. I pointed out that bluegrass was really coming on strong these days. And in fact it was proving to be a very vital form, with a place in the modern world. And this was not going to be your grampa’s bluegrass. I wanted to write some new music that would bring some different ideas to bluegrass, and take advantage of my experiences outside of the music over the last decade, to inform a new perspective. I was very aware that the movers and shakers in jazz were all influenced by music outside of it, and whenever there was a big shift, it was because outside influences had enriched the form. Charlie Parker and John Coltrane are two great examples of people bringing ideas from outside that changed the flow of the mainstream. I liked the idea that I should not be afraid or ashamed of all my time away from Bluegrass, but should find a way to use the time away to grow fresh ideas. So I wrote with all of this in mind. When we recorded this album, in my home in Belview,Tn, we were lucky enough to have Earl Scruggs, John Hartford and Vassar Clements join the core band of Tony Rice, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Mark Schatz and Stuart Duncan. There is a great Austin City Limits TV special which features everyone but Tony, who wasn’t available for the tour. We substituted the very capable Bryan Sutton and did a ton of wonderful live shows, in which we played everyone’s music, but with a focus on the album.