In the early 1990s, singer/guitarist John Lilly and legendary Tennessee fiddler Ralph Blizard crisscrossed the country, playing their own brand of old-time music. Traditional, yet inventive. Original, but deeply rooted. From Alaska to Florida, they thrilled audiences with soaring fiddle, timeless singing, and an engaging stage presence.
"Blue Highway" was their self-released cassette tape, issued in 1991. At the time, Ralph was 72 years old and John was 36. Out of print for several years, these recordings have now been digitally remixed, re-mastered, and reissued, along with 15 minutes of live bonus material.
John Lilly is an internationally recognized songwriter, singer, yodeler, and guitarist. Originally from Illinois, he lived in Nashville at the time of this recording and today lives in Charleston, West Virginia. A member of Ralph's band, the New Southern Ramblers, John played bass behind Ralph's fiddling for years before the pair struck out briefly as a duo. Since then, John has forged a successful solo career, with two self-released CDs to his credit. He continues to make a name for himself as an innovative artist and performer, while carrying on the country music tradition. According to one reviewer, "If Hank Williams had a sunny disposition, he'd be John Lilly."
Ralph Blizard was born in Kingsport, Tennessee, in 1918 and started his first band in 1932. Ralph's original Southern Ramblers, a popular local string band, played into the early 1950s, when Ralph hung up his fiddle to raise a family. Following retirement in 1980, Ralph returned to music in a big way, forming the New Southern Ramblers in 1982. Soon, Ralph was recognized as one of the foremost old-time fiddle players in the country, mixing profound local traditions with unique improvisation and enviable technique. He has received numerous awards and honors, including the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship in 2002.
Sit back and travel once more down the "Blue Highway" with John Lilly and Ralph Blizard.
Dedicated to the memory of Ralph Blizard (1918-2004)