They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
It apparently works that way for the North Carolina-based Nu-Blu.
Carolyn and Daniel Routh formed Nu-Blu in 2003.
That fall, she suffered two strokes, lost her ability to speak as well as the use of her right side — and almost lost her life.
But Carolyn Routh battled back to become a fine lead singer and bass player.
In 2009, Nu-Blu signed with Pinecastle Records.
A few months later, before the band’s new album, “Nights,” could be released, Pinecastle closed its doors.
The Rouths decided to self-release the album and its first single, “Spin on the Red Brick Floor.”
It scored well on several charts and Nu-Blu was named 2010 Country Band of the Year by the Carolina Music Awards.
Then, in September 2010, the Pinecastle label was purchased and reopened. And Nu-Blu was signed to a new contract.
And now, the band’s fifth album, “All The Way,” is out on the Rural Rhythm label.
“With this new project, we are going all the way by stepping outside of genre boundaries and letting our fusion of musical tastes and interpretations guide us like never before,” Carolyn Routh says on the band’s website.
But don’t worry.
It’s still a bluegrass album.
But the big surprise is the album’s first single, “Jesus and Jones,” which features 78-year-old Sam Moore, a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for his years with Dave Prater as Sam & Dave.
The song is more country than bluegrass, which is understandable since its about George Jones and Jesus.
“One man made wine, the other one drank it,” Moore and Carolyn Routh sing. “Either one could bring you to your knees.”
Rhonda Vincent joins Carolyn Routh on “That’s What Makes The Bluegrass Blue,” a ghost story just in time for Halloween. It’s based on a real coal mine disaster in 1939.
There’s also a cover of the 1983 Anne Murray classic, “A Little Good News,” for a world still short on good news.
In “All The Way,” Carolyn Routh sings about domestic violence with a tragic end.
“It’s Not That Cold In Montana,” sung by Daniel Routh, finds a man watching his wife pack to visit her mother, but knowing in his heart that she’s leaving for good.
In “Heavy Cross To Bear,” Carolyn sings about a medic in the war in Afghanistan.
And the band gets to showcase its instrumental talents on J.D. Crowe and Doyle Lawson‘s “Black Jack.”
A good album by a good band.
Can’t find it in stores? Try http://www.Nu-Blu.com.