Room at the Table
  • Walking into Gloryland
  • Second Chances
  • Softly and Tenderly
  • Send Me Lord, Send Me
  • In the Garden
  • Room at the Table
  • Walking into Gloryland
    Genre: Bluegrass
    MP3 (02:30) [5.73 MB]
  • Second Chances
    Genre: Bluegrass
    MP3 (02:43) [6.22 MB]
  • Softly and Tenderly
    Genre: Bluegrass
    MP3 (03:49) [8.74 MB]
  • Send Me Lord, Send Me
    Genre: Bluegrass
    MP3 (03:16) [7.5 MB]
  • In the Garden
    Genre: Bluegrass
    MP3 (04:14) [9.69 MB]
  • Room at the Table
    Genre: Bluegrass
    MP3 (03:27) [7.9 MB]
Biography
Bluegrass Duo Justin Hiltner & Jon Weisberger Return
with Gospel EP, Room at the Table

The collection of four new, original gospel numbers and two classic hymns will be released May 27, 2022

For immediate release:

NASHVILLE, TN – Critically-acclaimed and award-winning bluegrass songwriters Justin Hiltner and Jon Weisberger have announced the upcoming release of a brand new project, Room at the Table, a collection of original and traditional bluegrass gospel songs to be released independently on Friday, May 27. Room at the Table was recorded at Crossroads Studios in Arden, NC and features Darren Nicholson (Balsam Range) on mandolin, Corrina Rose Logston Stephens (High Fidelity) on fiddle, Laura Ray (Aaron Burdett) on guitar, and Ashleigh Caudill and Wendy Hickman on backing vocals – with Hiltner on banjo and lead vocals and Weisberger on bass and backing vocals as well.

“Jon and I have been writing songs and building community together in bluegrass for more than ten years now,” Hiltner says, “We have many common interests in bluegrass and one of them is bluegrass gospel, one of our favorite subsets within the genre.” The pair created this record with the same open, intentional approach that they put into their 2018 debut, Watch it Burn, which featured artists and pickers like Molly Tuttle, Tristan Scroggins, Kimber Ludiker, and Tim O’Brien.

Three years after the release of Watch it Burn, in the summer of 2021 after COVID-19 vaccinations were rolled out across the country, Hiltner & Weisberger convened in the beautiful rolling hills of the Appalachian Mountains in western North Carolina to record four original gospel songs – three written by Caudill and Weisberger and another, “Send Me Lord, Send Me,” written by Hiltner, Weisberger, and Caudill – along with two hymns. The collection is decidedly traditional in scope and aesthetic, recalling classic gospel albums by bluegrass legends such as Reno & Smiley, the Stanley Brothers, and Larry Sparks while updating the spiritual and faith-centered messages to better include folks of all backgrounds, beliefs, and walks of life.

“We’ve always firmly believed that bluegrass is for everyone,” Weisberger explains. “With this EP, we want to make the point that all of bluegrass is for everyone, bluegrass gospel, too.”

The title track, “Room at the Table,” makes that point boldly and with self awareness, ending with the “Room at the Table” choir, featuring every picker and singer on the project lending their voices to the chorus’s message of togetherness and belonging. “Second Chances,” a track in the style of iconic brother duets, encourages listeners to be as gracious towards others as the scriptures command without promising consequences or punishment. “Send Me Lord, Send Me” was inspired by Hiltner’s queerness and the often existential conflict queer folks feel when they’re told their faith is at odds with their identities. “In the Garden” and “Softly & Tenderly” were both chosen by Hiltner, who grew up in the church and singing both hymns, often accompanied by just his banjo. “Walking into Gloryland,” the project’s lead single, is a joyful and rollicking track focusing on life’s final journey, no matter which gloryland your sights may be set upon.

Room at the Table is at once comforting and familiar and a challenging, surprising record. With Hiltner’s and Weisberger’s identities and backgrounds falling outside of common expectations of who “owns” bluegrass gospel, the often stoic, ecclesiastical content is teased open, allowing in light and welcoming in any and all who love bluegrass music. The cast of musicians and singers on the project further reinforces this message, as Hiltner and Weisberger called upon talented, lauded friends and peers from all across the bluegrass and roots music landscape to perform the material.

“At the end of the day, we just love traditional bluegrass and bluegrass gospel and we’d like anyone who loves them as much as we do to feel at home in these spaces, too,” Hiltner concludes.

Room at the Table will be available wherever digital music is sold or streamed on May 27, 2022. Physical copies will be available via bandcamp.

More about Justin Hiltner: Justin Hiltner is a queer, disabled banjo player, songwriter, and music writer known from the podcast Dolly Parton’s America and currently playing banjo on the Broadway national tour of the 2019 Tony Award winning revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! His debut solo full length album, 1992, will be released in 2022. Hiltner has been nominated for Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year, Writer of the Year, and Collaborative Recording of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association. An editor, contributor, and producer for The Bluegrass Situation, the largest online community for roots music in the world, in 2016 Hiltner co-founded Shout & Shine with BGS, a showcase, column, and video series celebrating representation and inclusion in bluegrass and beyond. He also currently serves on the board for Bluegrass Pride, a non-profit with a mission of uplifting LGBTQ+ folks in roots music. More at justinhiltner.com

More about Jon Weisberger: A 30+ year bluegrass veteran and recipient of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s ’s first Songwriter of the Year award in 2012, Jon Weisberger has worn nearly every hat in the bluegrass industry; he’s also been a sought-after bass player who spent 17 years as a member of Chris Jones & the Night Drivers and the Roland White Band, a broadcaster who spent more than a decade as Del McCoury’s on-air sidekick and programmer, and a music journalist who earned two IBMA awards and the Charlie Lamb Award for Excellence in Country Music Journalism. Today, as he continues to write for artists ranging from Billy Strings and the Infamous Stringdusters to the Grascals and Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers, he has focused on A&R work for the Crossroads Label Group (Mountain Home Music Company and Organic Records), signing artists like banjoist Tray Wellington and Sister Sadie, and producing records for a variety of label artists, including Wellington, Carley Arrowood, Fireside Collective, Aaron Burdett and the Alex Leach Band.
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  • Influences:
    Reno & Smiley, Stanley Brothers, Larry Sparks
  • AirPlay Direct Member Since:
    05/09/22
  • Profile Last Updated:
    05/28/22 16:53:00

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