Hot Rize, one of Colorado’s most influential bands in any genre, kicked off their 40th anniversary year with a celebration at eTown Hall and the Boulder Theater in Boulder, Colorado.

In 1978, when Pete Wernick, Tim O’Brien, Nick Forster and Charles Sawtelle came together as a band, their chemistry soon generated an exciting and soulful new style of bluegrass, showcasing their formidable talents as instrumentalists, songwriters, and innovators. Grounded in the bluegrass traditions of artists like Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, and the Stanley Brothers, their musical tastes embraced other American roots pathways as well. Honing their sound in Colorado bars and small concerts, they were soon appearing on Prairie Home Companion, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, the Grand Ole Opry, and European tours. The world was ready for Hot Rize — and forty years later Hot Rize has left its unmistakable mark.

Their original songs are part of the bluegrass canon, their showmanship earned them the first-ever Entertainer of the Year award from the IBMA, and their “partnership” with Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers is … nearly indescribable. There is no other band like Hot Rize, and the Colorado bands that followed in their wake all cite them as a major influence.

Following Charles Sawtelle’s untimely death in 1999, the band regrouped with bluegrass’ reigning flat picker, North Carolinian Bryan Sutton on guitar. Since 2002, Hot Rize’s unparalleled all-star lineup has held steady and continues to create new and inspired music.

January 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of Hot Rize’s first gigs, in Boulder, CO. The band celebrated with a very special four-night stand January 11-14 at eTown Hall and the Boulder Theater featuring special guests Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan & Red Knuckls and the Trailblazers. Video and audio recordings of the occasion will be released later in the year, as the band tours nationwide to commemorate its 40th year.

Night of the Living Red; How Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers Almost Destroyed RockyGrass

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Upcoming Shows

Hot Rize w/ Red Knuckles & The Trailblazers

Date City Venue
02/15/18 Phoenixville, PA The Colonial Theater
02/16/18 Barre, VT Barre Opera House
02/17/18 Albany, NY The Egg – Lewis A. Swyer Theatre
02/18/18 Framingham, MA Joe Val Bluegrass Festival
07/29/18 Lyons, CO RockyGrass

Hot Rize is booking more shows far and wide
for their anniversary year.  Watch this space!


Official Poster from Hot Rize’s 40th Anniversary Bash in Boulder, CO with Special Guests – Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan & Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers

CD & Vinyl
"When I'm Free", and all the Hot Rize releases. Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers CDs, too!

Hot Rize, Martha White and Red Knuckles & The Trailblazers T-Shirts. Get yours today!

Red Knuckles flyswatters and other items. Got flies? Quantity discounts available on the flyswatters!

The only available DVD of Hot Rize. A full hour concert performance featuring Hot Rize and Red Knuckles & The Trailblazers Live at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in 1987.

Hot Rize Planning “Songs and Stories” Theater Programs

At selected venues in 2018, Hot Rize’s 40th Anniversary year, the band will merge its celebrated show with a look back at 40 years of highlights. Starting as fans and students of the original bluegrass legends, the group was eventually accepted by and welcomed to perform with their heroes, and is now enjoying the fruits of a lifetime in the music.

Hot Rize - Songs and Stories

A unique collection of stories and fan favorite songs make this show offering something that no Hot Rize (or acoustic music) fan will want to miss.