Tim was born and raised in Kingsport, Tennessee. His mother's Browder side of the family was musical, and his twin sisters play piano and sing. After starting out on drums, Tim discovered bluegrass in the mid-1970s as a freshman at Ketron High School, becoming a banjo player. He switched to guitar in the late 70s and became a member of several groups, including Mountain Memories and The Boys in the Band. In the late 1980s, Tim formed Dusty Miller with Adam Steffey and Adam's wife at the time, Tammy Rogers (later a founding member of the Steeldrivers), Brian Fesler (Band of Ruhks) and Barry Bales. Alison Krauss hired Tim, Adam and Barry in 1990 and Union Station proceeded to record a Grammy-winning CD, Every Time You Say Goodbye (Rounder, 1992). After leaving the band in 1992 to spend more time with his family, including his infant son Daniel, Tim worked odd jobs and taught at different colleges and universities until he formed Blue Highway in 1994 with Wayne Taylor, Shawn Lane, Rob Ickes and Jason Burleson. The band is one of the most decorated and influential in bluegrass history, having been nominated for 3 Grammys, winning a Dove Award, and 32 IBMA Awards. In March 2016, Blue Highway was named the most popular bluegrass artist in history in an online poll by Bluegrass Today. “Lonesome State of Mind,” written by Tim with Bobby Starnes, was named the most-played song of 2023. The song is the title track of their most recent album--their 13th--released on Down the Road Records in 2024.

Tim is a prolific songwriter, with over 300 songs recorded. He co-wrote IBMA's 2008 Song of the Year, "Through the Window of a Train," and was named IBMA's Songwriter of the Year in 2014, 2017 and 2023. In addition, he is a sought-after studio musician, having recorded with over 75 artists in addition to Blue Highway, including Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney, Jorma Kaukonen, Jesse McReynolds, Benny Sims, Marty Raybon, Joe Isaacs, Ronnie Bowman, Charles Sawtelle, Tony Trischka, Larry Sparks, Jim Mills and many others. Tim was named SPBGMA Guitar Performer of the Year in 2001 and 2015. He has produced many award-winning records for various artists, including Kenny Chesney, The Infamous Stringdusters (IBMA 2007 co-album of the Year) , and Knee Deep in Bluegrass, the Acutab Sessions (IBMA 2001 Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year). Tim performed many times with Hazel Dickens, including the Lincoln Center in New York (2006), Sundance Film Festival, Park City, UT (2005), Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, San Francisco, CA (2010), and Wintergrass, Tacoma WA (2003). He has taught at nearly all the bluegrass-oriented camps, including Rockygrass Academy, Camp Bluegrass (South Plains College, TX), Augusta Heritage, Wintergrass Academy, Sore Fingers (UK), Bluegrass at the Beach, Nashcamp, Kaufman's Flatpicking Camp, California Bluegrass Association Camp at Grass Valley, St. Louis Flatpick, Resosummit, Summergrass Academy, Grand Targhee, Great Lakes Music Camp, Bluegrass Masters Weekend, Ashokan Bluegrass Camp, MBOTMA Fall Jam Songwriting workshop intensive and Nashville Flatpick and Songwriting Camp.

Tim worked on a PhD in History at Miami University in the mid 1980s. He has taught American History, Western Civ, Appalachian Studies, Mass Communications and Popular Culture, Personal instruction in guitar and banjo, American Roots Music, Songwriting and Bluegrass-related courses at several colleges and Universities, including Miami, East Tennessee State, and Appalachian State University. In 2010, he and Caroline Wright co-authored Still Inside: The Tony Rice Story, the critically-acclaimed authorized biography of bluegrass Hall of Fame member and living legend Tony Rice. Tim gave the keynote address at the 1994 IBMA World of Bluegrass in Owensboro, KY and has been on the IBMA Board of Directors four different times, serving as Vice Chair from 1995 to 1998. He is a former Board member of the Foundation for Bluegrass Music and currently sits on the Bluegrass Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. On May 8, 2015, Tim was named a Distinguished Alumnus in the Arts by the East Tennessee State University National Alumni Society. In 2023, he was named Artist in Residence in the Bluegrass, Old-Time and Roots Studies Program at ETSU.

Tim released his first solo record, Endless Line in 2004 on FGM Records to critical acclaim. It was nominated for IBMA’s Instrumental Recording of the Year in 2005. His second, Just to Hear the Whistle Blow, was released in July 2014; his third, Acoustic Guitar, in September 2017. His fourth solo record, Tunes and Ballads, was released in 2020 and his fifth, Guitar Melodies in 2023. Other projects include four duet records--one with the late Steve Gulley, Dogwood Winter, in 2010 and What We Leave Behind:  A Songwriters' Collection, with Bobby Starnes in 2018, as well as the final Gulley/Stafford duet record on Mountain Home Records released in March 2021, Still Here. Tim and Thomm Jutz collaborated on Lost Voices, a duet record on Mountain Fever released in February 2023. 

Both moving and memorable, Lost Voices brings life to those whose stories that might otherwise have been lost. Stafford and Jutz have, in fact, made a masterpiece.” - 

Lee Zimmerman, Bluegrass Today



Endless Line, FGM Records 114, 2004. 

Just to Hear the Whistle Blow, Hedge Drive Records, (HDR01) 2014. 

Acoustic Guitar, Hedge Drive Records, (HDR02), 2017. 

Tunes & Ballads, Hedge Drive Records, (HDR03), 2020. 

Guitar Melodies, Hedge Drive Records, (HDR04), 2023. 



Jim Hurst, Tim Stafford and Bryan Sutton, Hurst, Stafford and Sutton:  Live in Nashville, FGM records, 2003 (DVD). 

Steve Gulley and Tim Stafford, Dogwood Winter, Rural Rhythm (RHY-1066), 2010. 

Tim Stafford and Bobby Starnes, What We Leave Behind:  A Songwriters’ Collection, S&S Records, S&SR-001, 2018. 

Tim Stafford and Barry Ricks, Who Needs Mistletoe?, BT Records, BT-001, 2019. 

Steve Gulley and Tim Stafford, Still Here, Mountain Home, 2021. 

“Last Train from Poor Valley,” From Sulphur Springs to Rising Fawn: The Songs of Norman Blake, Pinecastle, 2022.

Thomm Jutz and Tim Stafford, “Take That Shot,” (single), Mountain Fever, 2022.

Thomm Jutz and Tim Stafford, “No Witness in the Laurel but the Leaves,”  (single), Mountain Fever, 2022.

Thomm Jutz and Tim Stafford, “The Blue Grays,” (single), Mountain Fever, 2023.

Thomm Jutz and Tim Stafford, Lost Voices, Mountain Fever, February 3, 2023.



Alison Krauss and Union Station, Every Time You Say Goodbye, Rounder 0285, 1992. [Grammy winner, Best Bluegrass Album; IBMA Album of the Year] 

Alison Krauss, Now That I’ve Found You:  A Collection, Rounder, 1997. 

Michelle Shocked, Arkansas Traveler, Mercury, 1991. 



Blue Highway, It’s a Long, Long Road, Rebel 1719, 1995. [IBMA Album of the Year] 

Blue Highway, Wind to the West, Rebel 1731, 1996. 

Blue Highway, Midnight Storm, Rebel 1746, 1998. 

Blue Highway, Blue Highway, Ceili 2002, 1999. 

Blue Highway, Still Climbing Mountains, Rounder 0489,  2001. 

Blue Highway, Wondrous Love, Rounder 0524, 2003. [Grammy nominee; Dove Award and IBMA Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year winner] 

Blue Highway, Marbletown, Rounder 0558, 2005. [Grammy nominee] 

Blue Highway, Lonesome Pine, Rebel 7512 (Vault Masters series), 2006. 

Blue Highway, “I’ll Wait” on Strummin’ with the Devil, CMH, 2006. 

Blue Highway, Through the Window of a Train, Rounder 0594, 2008. 

Blue Highway, Some Day:  A 15th Anniversary Celebration, Rounder 0633, 2010. 

Blue Highway, Sounds of Home, Rounder 9107, 2011. 

Blue Highway, The Game, Rounder 9170, 2014. 

Blue Highway, Original Traditional, Rounder 610010, 2016. [Grammy nominee] 

Blue Highway, Somewhere Far Away:  Silver Anniversary, Rounder 1166100620, 2019. 

Blue Highway, “On the Roof of the World,” (single), Rounder 2022.

Blue Highway, “Lonesome State of Mind,” (single), Rounder 2022.

Blue Highway, “The North Side,” (single), Rounder 2023.

Blue Highway, Lonesome State of Mind, Down the Road, 2024.



Benny Sims and E.C. Miller, Bluegrass on the Mountain, 0089, 1982. 

The Boys in the Band, self-produced EP, 1983. 

The ETSU Bluegrass Band, East Tennessee, Now and Then Records, 1986. 

The Boys in the Band, self-produced cassette, 1987. 

Dusty Miller, self-produced cassette, Classic C-3178, 1988. 

Butch Baldassari, Old Town, Rebel 1681, 1989. 

Dusty Miller, Dusty Miller, June Appal, JA0057,1989. 

Kenny Chesney, Good Ole Boy at Heart, Classic Records, 1989. 

Butch Baldassari, Evergreen, Cactus, 1990. 

Michelle Shocked, Arkansas Traveler, Mercury, 1991. 

Alison Krauss, Every Time You Say Goodbye, Rounder 0285, 1992. 

Various Artists, Blue Ribbon Bluegrass, Rounder, 1993. 

Various Artists, Hand-Picked:  25 Years of Bluegrass on Rounder Records, 1995. 

Various Artists, Rounder Records 25th Anniversary, Rounder, 1995. 

Various Artists, Rebel Records: 35 Years of the Best in Bluegrass (1960-1995), 1996. 

Alison Krauss, Now That I’ve Found You:  A Collection, Rounder, 1997. 

Rob Ickes, Hard Times, Rounder, 1997. 

Various Artists, Bluegrass Breakdown: 14 Instrumentals, Easydisc, 1998. 

ALIVE AT TWENTY-FIVE "Telluride Bluegrass Festival 25th Anniversary,"  PB-1004 (Blue Highway, “Wind to the West”), 1998. 

Ronnie Bowman, The Man I’m Trying to Be, SH-3880, 1998. 

Jim Mills, Bound to Ride, SH 3883, 1998. 

Curtis Jones, Blue as I, 1998. 

Various Artists, Bluegrass Essentials, Hip-O Records, 1998. 

Various Artists, Generations of Bluegrass, Volume 2, Shoulder to Shoulder, Vanguard Records, 1999. 

Smokey Mountain Boys, On Prayer Grounds, 1999. 

Various Artists, Legendary Pickers, Vol. 3, Vanguard Records, 1999. 

Various Artists, Rough Guide to Bluegrass, World Music Network Records, 1999. 

Jack Tottle, Bluegrass Stories, Copper Creek, 1999. 

Various Artists, Appalachian Stomp: More Bluegrass Classics, 1999. 

Various Artists, Choice Picks, Sugar Hill, 2000. 

Various Artists, Knee-Deep in Bluegrass:  The Acutab Sessions, Rebel 1759, 2000. 

Don Rigsby, Empty Old Mailbox, SH 3915, 2000. 

Alan Bibey, The Blue Room, SH 3910, 2000. 

Various Artists, New Standards for Flatpicking Guitar, FGM Records, 2000. 

Various Artists, Flatpicking 2000, FGM Records, 2000. 

Various Artists, O Sister! The Women's Bluegrass Collection, Rounder, 2001 

Charles Sawtelle, Music from Rancho DeVille, Acoustic Disc, 2001. 

Julie, If You Only Knew, Soundwave Productions, 2001. 

Adam Steffey, Grateful, Mountain Home MH08512, 2001. 

Various Artists, Roots Music: An American Journey, Rounder, 2001. 

Various Artists, Cool, Blue Outlaws: Songs of Rogues, Rascales & Rapscallions, Sugar Hill, 2002. 

Various Artists, DocFest, FGM Records, 2002. 

James Alan Shelton, Song for Greta, Rebel 1785, 2002. 

Ronnie Bowman, Starting Over, SH-3933 2002. 

Various Artists, Rough Guide to the Music of the Appalachians, World Music Network Records, 2002. 

Various Artists, Cool, Blue and Lonesome: Bluegrass for the Broken-Hearted, Sugar Hill, 2002. 

Jim Hurst, Second Son, Pinecastle, 2002 

Merlefest Live:  The 15th Anniversary Jam DVD, "Lonesome Pine," 2003. 

Various Artists, Essential Bluegrass, Emergent 271980, 2003 (Blue Highway, “Born With a Hammer in My Hand,” “Lonesome Hearted Blues,” “Don’t Come Out of the Hole” and “Man of Constant Sorrow”). 

Various Artists, Flatpicking Favorites: Hot and Spicy, FGM Records, 2003. 

Jim Hurst, Tim Stafford and Bryan Sutton, Hurst, Stafford and Sutton:  Live in Nashville, FGM records, 2003 (DVD). 

Jimmy Sturr, Let’s Polka ‘Round, Rounder Select, CD-6106, 2003. 

Shawn Lane, All for Today, Rebel 1779, 2003. 

Joe Isaacs, Dreaming of Home, Music Mill 70039, 2003. 

Various Artists, White Dove: The Bluegrass Gospel Collection, Rounder, 2003. 

Various Artists, Bluegrass Today:  Mountain Fever, Time-Life Music, OPCD 3617, 2003, (Blue Highway, “Still Climbing Mountains”). 

James Shelton, Half Moon Bay, Rebel 1809, 2004. 

Rob Ickes with Blue Highway, Big Time, Rounder 0538, 2004. 

Trey Hensley, Backin’ to Birmingham, Copper Creek 231, 2004. 

Various Artists, At This Stage…30 Years at the Wheatland Music Festival , White Pine Music, WCD-201, 2004. (Blue Highway, “Don’t Come Out of the Hole” and “Some Day”) 

Various Artists, Bluegrass Number Ones:  A Collection of Chart-Topping Songs, Rounder 0531, 2004. 

Various Artists, Bluegrass Express, Rounder 1159, 2004. 

John Lawless, Five and Dime, Copper Creek, 2004. 

Marty Raybon and Full Circle, The Gospel in Black and White, 2004. 

Jeff Parker, Two Roads to Travel, Lonesome Day Records LDR 004, 2004. 

Darin Aldridge, Call It a Day, Pinecastle, PRC 6506, 2004. 

Jimmy Sturr, Rock ‘N Polka, Rounder Select, CD-6109, 2004. 

David Yates, Workin’ Man, 2004. 

Various Artists, Bluegrass All-Stars: 16 Grand Slams From Sugar Hill Records.  Sugar Hill SH 3982, 2004 (Alan Bibey, “County Fool,” Don Rigsby, “I Am a Little Scholar,” Jim Mills, “Bear Tracks”). 

Larry Sparks, 40, Rebel 1806, 2005. 

Adrienne Young and Little Sadie, The Art of Virtue, Addie Belle Records, 2005. 

Jim Mills, A Winning Banjo Style (DVD), Acutab Publications, 2005. 

Kort and Beth McCumber, Greetings from McCumberland Gap, Somewhere to Go Music, 2005. 

Bo Isaac, I’m Not Living Life, It’s Living Me,  Goodtyme Productions, 2006. 

Various Artists, Gloryland:  30 Bluegrass Gospel Classics, Time-Life Records, 2006. 

Various Artists, Celebration of Life:  Musicians Against Childhood Cancer, Skaggs Family, 2006 (Blue Highway, “I Hung My Head”). 

Various Artists, Sugar Hill Records:  A Retrospective (Box Set), Sugar Hill, 2006. 

Various Artists, Bluegrass Essentials, Rebel 8001, 2006. 

Tony Trischka, Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular, Rounder, 2007. 

Donna Hughes, Gaining Wisdom, Rounder, 2007. 

Steve Gulley, Sounds Like Home, Lonesome Day, 2007. 

Jorma Kaukonen, Stars in My Crown, Red House Records, RHR202, 2007. 

Music of Coal:  Songs from the Appalachian Coalfields, (“Union Man”), 2007, Lonesome Pine Office for Youth, 2007. 

Jason Davis, Steppin’ Out, Pinecastle PRC 6511, 2007. 

Tim Carter, Bang Bang, 2007. 

Tim Hensley, Long Monday, Rural Rhythm Records, 2008. 

Willie Nelson, Moment of Forever, Lost Highway Records 001045302, 2008. 

Andy Hall, Sound of the Slide Guitar, Sugar Hill, SKU SUG-CD-4041 2008. 

Midnight Ramblers, Let It Shine, Lonesome Records, 2008 

Melonie Cannon, And the Wheels Turn, Rural Rhythm Records, 2008. 

Tony Trischka, Hill Country (CD reissue—I appear on bonus track), Rounder 011661020320, 2008. 

Alecia Nugent, Hillbilly Goddess, Rounder Records, 2009. 

Kim Williams, The Reason That I Sing, Mountain Manna, 2009. 

Shades of Blue, Self-produced, 2009. 

High Ground Bluegrass Band, Self-produced, 2009. 

Mavis Hughes, Back Where I Come From, 2009. 

Various Artists, Flatpicking Bluegrass, FGM Records, 2009. 

Ross Nickerson, Let’s Kick Some Ass, 2009. 

David Grindstaff, Here and Now, self, 2010. 

Jesse McReynolds, OMS Records, 2009. 

Missy Werner, Drifting and Dreaming, self, 2010. 

Brink Brinkman, On the Brink of a Dream, self, 2010. 

Wolf Creek, Like the Restless Wind, self, 2010. 

Megan Lynch and Bill Evans, Bluegrass Jamming Essentials, Acutab Publications, DVD, 2010. 

Ron Block, Guitar DVD, From Bluegrass to AKUS Guitar, Acutab, 2010. 

Various Artists, True Bluegrass Essentials, Rebel 8001, 2010. 

Various Artists, Bluegrass Special, Rounder 011661065628, 2010. 

Various Artists, Dark as a Dungeon—Songs of the Mines, Rebel, 2010. 

Various Artists, Blue Moon of Kentucky:  Instrumental Tribute to Bill Monroe, Rural Rhythm 1075, 2011. 

Carrie Hassler, The Distance, Rural Rhythm, 2012. 

J.T. Oakes, Vegas Blue, Self, 2012. 

Kim and Amanda Williams, 2012. 

Johnny Stallard, Busted, Self, 2012. 

Tim Davis, 2012. 

Kelley Nelson, self, 2012. 

Various Artists, God Didn’t Choose Sides, Rural Rhythm, 2013. 

Aaron Ramsey, Gathering, 2013. 

Mike Scott, Home Sweet Home (Civil War Era Songs), Rural Rhythm, 2013. 

Donna Hughes, From the Heart, Running Dog Records, 2014. 

Darrell Webb, Dream Big, Mountain Fever Records, 2014. 

Steve Gulley, Family, Friends and Fellowship, Rural Rhythm, 2014. 

Matt Leadbetter, Matt Leadbetter, self produced, 2015. 

Tyler Williams, Heart Over Mind, self, 2016. 

Blue Highway, Original Traditional, Rounder, 2016 

The Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music Homecoming 2015, The Live Concert Recordings (Blue Highway, “Lonesome Pine”), Crooked Road, 2016. 

Doug Flowers, Favorites, self-produced, 2017. 

Beth Snapp, Write Your Name Down, self, 2017. 

Holler Jake featuring Dave Eggar, The Waiting, 2018. 

Gary Breedlove, self, 2018. 

Shannan Miller, self, 2018. 

Adam Knight, self, 2019. 

Amanda Fields, self, 2019. 

Scott Shipley, self, 2019. 

Bobby Starnes, Songwriter, self, 2019. 

True Bluegrass Guitar, Rebel Records, 2019. 

Blue Highway, Somewhere Far Away:  Silver Anniversary, Rounder 1166100620, 2019. 

“The Dark Side of the Mountain,” (with Barnett Carr), self, 2020. 

Darin and Brooke Aldridge, 2021

David Thompson, self, 2021.

Tammy Jones Robinette, 2021.

Phil Faconti, 2021 (with Bruce Watson of Foreigner)

Marnie Breckenridge, self, 2021

Thomas Cassell, What You Need to Prove, Mountain Fever, 2022

Thomm Jutz and Martin Simpson, “Jacob’s Ladder” (with Dale Ann Bradley), 2023.

Dale Ann Bradley, “Dogwood Winter,” Compass, 2023.