Grammy Award-winning guitarist, songwriter, author and singer, two-time IBMA Songwriter of the Year, former member of Alison Krauss and Union Station, and founding member of celebrated Bluegrass group Blue Highway. Co-author of Tony Rice's authorized biography, "Still Inside," winner of over 30 IBMA and SPBGMA awards as well as a Dove Award.
Blue Highway and the town of Big Stone Gap, VA are proud to announce The first annual BLUE HIGHWAY FEST, October 6-8, 2022 at Bullitt Park in Big Stone Gap, VA. CHECK OUT THIS LINEUP: Blue Highway, Sam Bush Band, Tommy Emmanuel, Dan Tyminski Band, Darrell Scott, Travelin' McCourys, Scythian, Sierra Hull Band, Seldom Scene, Balsam Range, Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers, Ralph Stanley II and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Ed Snodderly, Carson Peters and Iron Mountain, Beth Snapp plus MORE ARTISTS TO BE ADDED!!! TICKETS and more info: https://bluehighwayfest.com/
On-site camping (RVs and tents), On-site food vendors, Craft brews... Children under 12 FREE!
Come join us this Fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia on the Trail of the Lonesome Pine, to celebrate the rich heritage of Bluegrass and Roots music, food and culture, with Blue Highway and their friends!
Words really can't express the gratitude I feel for these two honors at the 2021 IBMA awards: Liner Notes of the Year for the reissue of Tony Rice's great California Autumn record on Rebel, and co-winner of Gospel Recorded Performance for In the Resurrection Morning by Sacred Réunion, featuring me, Doyle Lawson, Vince Gill, Mark Wheeler, Barry Abernathy, Jim Van Cleve, and the late Phil Leadbetter and Jason Moore. The first was, of course, an honor for me to do since I literally cut my teeth on Tony's record and in light of his passing last year... The second was a tribute to my late co-writer and brotherman Steve Gulley. The influence of these two guys will live on for a long, long time, and I dedicate the awards in their memory. Thanks so much to everyone who voted. Tim
"Blessed with an exquisite ear, superlative-creating touch and technique, and a nuanced sense of taste, no one in bluegrass has ever made the guitar sound better than Tim Stafford..." David J. McCarty, Bluegrass Unlimited, February 2018
This is the official website for guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer and author Tim Stafford. You can find merch, including downloads and physical copies of all my solo and duet projects, plus instructional material, as well as the critically-acclaimed biography of Tony Rice: Still Inside, the Tony Rice Story. Also lyrics, news, schedule, photos, Blog and much more. Blue Highway dates and information here.
GRAMMY, DOVE, IBMA and SPBGMA AWARD-winning guitarist, singer and songwriter TIM STAFFORD is proud to release his fourth solo record, TUNES & BALLADS on December 14, 2020. Stafford, a former member of Alison Krauss’s Union Station and a founding member of perennial Bluegrass powerhouse Blue Highway, was named IBMA’s Songwriter of the year in 2014 and 2017 and co-wrote IBMA’s 2008 Song of the Year, “Through the Window of a Train.”
TUNES & BALLADS features 15 of Tim’s compositions, 10 instrumentals and 7 vocals, along with a cover of Bobby’s Hebb’s 1960s anthem “Sunny.” Like the title says, the record is a mix of solo, duet and trio instrumentals—in the style of those featured on Tim’s critically-acclaimed 2017 release ACOUSTIC GUITAR—and story songs, four of which were co-written with Tim’s friends and collaborators Craig Market, Joe Newberry, Jon Weisberger, and the late, great Steve Gulley. There are stories about great ships like the Titanic and Arizona, historical figures as disparate as Buffalo Bill Cody and Jack the Ripper, and tales of the loss of ways of life and old guitars. There are both flatpicked and fingerpicked originals—Tim was named the SPBGMA guitar player of the year in 2001 and 2015.
"An exquisite collection of original songs... So subtle and elegant throughout, Tim performs well balanced melodies. He makes it all sound so simple and effortless."
SEVERIN THEINERT for Uncut Grass, December 2020
"lonesome beauty... stylistic perfection and superb pacing...Tunes & Ballads will carry you away into nostalgias, perhaps for a place and time you have only imagined and can never experience for yourself. Such is the power of music...So it seems Tim has harnessed the power of nostalgia for not only places and distant times, but ones within ourselves as well."
BAMBI GRINDER, Writer and Editor, Noteworthymusic.com, February 5, 2021
"Stafford’s work and talents need no words of praise. His accomplishments would put three of him in the Bluegrass Hall of Fame in Owensboro...a bravura display of storytelling and musicianship that opens the mind as much as the ear..."
DAVID MCCARTY, Bluegrass Unlimited, March 1, 2021
"LONG WAY AROUND THE MOUNTAIN," the second single on Mountain Home from the late Steve Gulley & Tim released November 2020.
From modern tales of love and loss to stories of hard-working mountaineers, the award-winning team of
wove compelling narratives out of historical events and personal, emotional journeys alike — and never so well as when the two coincide, as they do in “Long Way Around The Mountain.” Built around a true story, the song offers a vivid portrayal of life underground and the violence that periodically flared up in the coal fields as miners sought to organize.
That alone would have given the release some gravity — it’s a theme the two have treated more than once, both together and individually — but with the sudden passing of Steve Gulley in August at the age of 57, his musical legacy takes on an even deeper emotional weight. So it was natural that, when planning a second release from the duo’s already-recorded material, thoughts would turn to a song based on events handed down from one generation of the singer’s family to the next.
On “Long Way Around The Mountain,” muscular bluegrass picking from Ron Stewart (banjo, fiddle), Thomas Cassell (mandolin), bassist Barry Bales and Stafford on guitar give life to Gulley’s heartfelt recounting of the story of his native eastern Kentucky’s “Fork Ridge Coal Mine War” at one of the area’s few non-union operations long ago — told in the voice of miner Marcellus Gulley, his great-uncle.
Stafford says, “I remember Steve's vivid recollections about the miners being told to find another way home from the mine since there was ‘blood running down the highway’ and ‘they were shooting men down at the gate.’ We put Steve's words directly into the song as we told the story of hard-working men just trying to make a living, who learned through the grapevine that they had better take the long way around the mountain to make it home alive.”
"STILL HERE," the first single on Mountain Home from Steve Gulley & Tim released June 26, 2020!
Arden, North Carolina (June 26, 2020) — For their first Mountain Home Music Company single, ace songwriting colleagues Steve Gulley and Tim Stafford have chosen “Still Here,” a bleak yet ultimately poignant portrait of a man trapped in a life away from the only place he feels at home.
“I love the money but I hate this town / Every day I’m here just wears me down,” Gulley sings in weary tones, as the song shifts from its hushed, moody opening feel into the solid bluegrass rhythms of the first chorus and its downcast conclusion: “Costs me more than this place will ever give me / But here I am...still here.”
With a searing fiddle solo by ace studio musician Ron Stewart (who also contributes banjo) that perfectly captures the narrator’s mingled bitterness and resignation over Stafford’s muscular, mournful guitar rhythms, bassist Barry Bales’ steady pulse and the brisk groove of mandolinist Thomas Cassell (Circus No.9), “Still Here” offers a polished, musically sophisticated yet viscerally emotional reading that serves to reintroduce the duo in their first joint project in a decade. Both men are renowned performers in their own rights — Gulley as an esteemed singer and hitmaker with his own Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle, Stafford as a founding member of Blue Highway and an influential guitarist — but have only one previous recording together to their credit, 2010’s Dogwood Winter.
"This is one man's regret at living so long somewhere he didn't want to be,” says Stafford of “Still Here.” “And despite everything he's endured, including his homesickness for Appalachia. But I think it can be generalized to anyone who feels out of place.”
“I think a lot of people can relate to the story in the song,” adds Gulley. “Most all of us have had times when we've felt out of place and missed home. I know I have.”
And circling back to the title, Stafford concludes, “Despite it all, he's still here."
In the hills just above Nashville, TN there is a house set back in the woods where people go to learn how to play flatpick guitar. Only 15 campers are allowed to attend so each class is small and every camper comes away feeling like he or she had a couple of days of private lessons. And yet, friendships are made that last a lifetime. It's pretty magical.