“If it wasn’t for Hot Rize, we couldn’t do what we do.”
— Ben Kaufmann, Yonder Mt. String Band
“Hot Rize is a band that lives in our hearts all these years since they dispersed —- they were the Lamborghini of bluegrass, a stunning band that made it look effortless —- and the news that they are reassembling in the fall warms the heart. Not all good things go to pieces; some good things can be put back together.”
— Garrison Keillor
“One of the most influential and beloved bluegrass bands of the past thirty years.”
— Boston Globe
“Legendary bluegrass band.”
— Relix
“If this set was any indication, Hot Rize has made a mighty comeback. dazzled the crowd with sheer musical wizardry, pulling soul and feeling out of every moment.”
— Jambands.com [re Old Settlers Festival set, Austin, TX 2004]
“Their performance at Tacoma’s 1st Baptist Church to a completely packed house of over 800 fans (with more waiting outside in near freezing temperatures to hear what they could) was a spiritual and inspirational performance that would be hard to top.”
— Hotbands.com 04
“One of the most popular bluegrass bands in the world, Hot Rize, concluded the 2009 RockyGrass festival. The strong writing and musicianship of all the players, Tim O’Brien on mandolin and fiddle, Pete Wernick on banjo, Nick Forster on bass, and relative newcomer (since 2002) Bryan Sutton on guitar, makes them a powerhouse unit. And although they do not play regularly together, as they each have their own commitments, this team put out a top-notch bunch of classics bringing back memories from their full-time touring days.

It seems that nothing has changed in the 30 years since they began – and that’s a good thing in this camp – as even their funky ragtag swing persona “Red Knuckles And The Trailblazers” were still hanging around. All the tunes brought broadening smiles to our faces one after the other until the love was overflowing. There was no doubt that everyone left tremendously happy.”
— festivalpreview.com, Aug. 09
“Hot Rize is the great modern bluegrass band. They’re the connective tissue that links the great founders of bluegrass with the modern tradition. I think the world is waiting for Hot Rize.”
— Steve Martin
“…still walking around with our mouths hanging open after that performance last night. It was so full of mastery and fire, so funny, so deep, and very moving… we are still sort of stunned.”
— Sandy Miranda, KALW San Francisco
“It’s rare to find that magical edge between tradition and innovation, and when I first heard Hot Rize in a Telluride bakery years ago, the delightful, fresh sound lured me in and has kept me ever since. Too often a contemporary approach dilutes the core passion, but for bluegrass, this favorite band of mine strums those original heartstrings like never before, taking the yearning lonesome effortlessly into the era of tweets and blogs.”
— Mike Gordon (Phish)
“I’ve been in love with Hot Rize ever since I heard Tim O’Briens mandolin kickoff to “Blue Night.” Individually, Tim, Pete, Nick and Bryan are unique stylists and some of the best at their respective craft. Combined, they make up one of the greatest bands in any genre of music.”
— Dierks Bentley
“For fans of Bluegrass music, That Tent was the place to spend the day on Friday as The Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Hot Rize, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers all played. Early reports from fans I spoke to say this was the place to be as many say Hot Rize’s performance [at Bonnaroo] is an early contender for best show of 2010 and that Steve Martin’s set was a true sight to see.”
— Nashville Festivals Examiner Chris Griffy
“Hot Rize showed the world the power of infusing incredible original music with the passion of each musician onstage. They made it O.K. to play with guts AND brains…to allow the audience in by showing them that they were having as much fun as those watching.

It is the incredibly rare combination of amazing technical skill and complete fearlessness…something I haven’t found in any other band in this genre of music.

We are all extremely lucky to have been influenced…emotionally and creatively…by the one and only Hot Rize.”
— Jeff Austin, former Yonder Mt. String Band
“Hot Rize is an amazing band featuring phenomenal musicians playing fantastic tunes, the hottest players in acoustic music at the top of their game.”
— Ed Helms
“Hot Rize is one of the most important bluegrass bands ever.”
— Chris Thile
“The best bluegrass band of all time? Maybe not, who’s to say? But Hot Rize is certainly the best bluegrass show you’ve never seen… until now. After ushering in Newgrass in the late ‘70s until their breakup in 1990, Hot Rize rose to the top of the bluegrass pile with their hot licks, blended chops, vocal harmonies and top-drawer songwriting. Lead vocalist/mandolinist/fiddler Tim O’Brien is a wonder unto himself but playing next to Dr. Banjo and Nick Forster, whos electric bass challenges any dog-house purist, provides the sweetest musical blend… In 2002 Hot Rize added flat-picking chamption Bryan Sutton an sporadically retured to the road. … An added treat is Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers, who’ll take the stage for a set of western swing and country and share their interpretation of “the Hanks” and other honky-tonk favorites.”
— From Stomp & Stammer’s ROCK-O METER, Atlanta, GA Oct, 2011
“Hot Rize is a band that has always been in my thoughts. Loving to read the insights of the artists I listen to, I had heard their name from many of the newgrass players that fall in the jamband scene. When I finally saw this quartet on Saturday night, I immediately recognized the seedling that they planted in all of those players they influenced. Their solos are much more exploratory than the traditional bluegrass band, allowing the tempo to change, the mood of the song to wander, all based on the improvisation of the leader at the time. And this band does not lack for a talented leader when it comes to playing, as well as creative song crafting. With Tim O’Brien on guitar, mandolin and fiddle, Pete Wernick on banjo, Nick Forster (the host of E-town on NPR) on bass and Bryan Sutton on guitar, this band is as recognizable individually as they are as a unit. When they left the stage and returned portraying their alter egos in the band Red Knuckles and the trail Blazers, their influence on players like Jeff Austin, Michael Kang and Mike Gordon was truly evident.”
— gratefulweb.com July 2012
“I moved to Telluride in ’81.The big event of the summer was always Telluride Bluegrass Festival. The one act we would never miss was Hot Rize!”
— Bill Nershi (String Cheese Incident)