eTune: Hot Rize ends 20-year recording hiatus with free downloads

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Good news for eTown listeners and fans of Hot Rize: The influential bluegrass outfit, which launched the career of host Nick Forster, is risen again.

Two decades after the release of their last album, the quartet went back into the studio last June for a day-long recording session. This week, they've posted two songs from that session, which are both available here as free downloads.

Their spirited version of Jimmy Webb's "Wichita Lineman" opens with spry banjo picking and proceeds to get along just fine without all the strings and production filigrees that characterized the Glenn Campbell hit. (Kinda miss the baritone guitar solo, though.)

"Diamond Joe," meanwhile, is a folk-blues song recorded in the late ’30s by Parchman Farm inmate Charlie Butler and more recently resurrected by Bob Dylan.

As you'll hear, they're both pretty special.

Want more? Hot Rize is slated to play the Boulder Theater on Halloween night. Or you could stay here in town and catch Slim Cessna at the Black Sheep. Can't lose either way.

And as long as we're on the subject, here's a seriously phenomenal version of the other "Diamond Joe," the one Woody Guthrie's pal Cisco Houston used to sing, as performed by a 14-year-old Molly Tuttle and her two kid brothers:

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