Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw talks about 'the dream Nashville day'
Sterling Whitaker, Classic Hard Rock Examiner February 3, 2011
Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw has been spending quite a bit of time in Music City recently, recording with some of Nashville's finest for his upcoming bluegrass album The Great Divide. The album features guest appearances by bluegrass star Brad Davis, multi-instrumentalist Nashville session ace Stuart Duncan, hit songwriter Gary Burr, Alison Krauss and more. In a recent YouTube video, Shaw described an especially productive day he had in Nashville.
"On the last day of the Nashville sessions, Stuart Duncan and his family came by. I think we had just finished recording [bluegrass standard] 'Rank Stranger,'" Shaw recalled. "He had a gig that night at the Station Inn in downtown Nashville with his bluegrass band, and he said, 'Why don't you come down and sit in, and we'll play "Rank Stranger.'"
"I thought, 'God, that would be great,' but then I realized I'd told Gary Burr that I was gonna go sit in with him at the Bluebird later on," Shaw said. "And [Stuart] said, 'Just come down early. We'll play it early in the night, and you can go do both of them."
The guitarist considers himself fortunate to be working with so much top-notch talent. "I was thinking, this is like the dream Nashville day - recording with the greatest bluegrass musicians in town, and then going and sitting in at the Station Inn, and then the Bluebird."
Shaw was a little apprehensive; he wasn't sure how a bluegrass audience would receive the guitarist from Styx, and he also wasn't sure he knew all the words to the song well enough to get through it live. "He said, 'Just make a cheat sheet. Don't worry about it,'" Shaw recalled. "There I went, cheat sheet in hand, and I have to admit, it was one of my most nervous times ever on stage. And it really turned out great, got a great response from the audience . . . it was a good day."
The Great Divide is slated for release on March 22, 2011.