John Lilly

Blue Highway:
Old-Time Songs & Longbow Fiddle

In the early 1990s, singer/guitarist John Lilly and legendary Tennessee fiddler Ralph Blizard crisscrossed the country, playing their own brand of old-time music. Traditional, yet inventive. Original, but deeply rooted. From Alaska to Florida, they thrilled audiences with soaring fiddle, timeless singing, and an engaging stage presence.

“Blue Highway” was their self-released cassette tape, issued in 1991. At the time, Ralph was 72 years old and John was 36. Out of print for several years, these recordings have now been digitally remixed, re-mastered, and reissued, along with 15 minutes of live bonus material.

Sit back and travel once more down the “Blue Highway” with John Lilly and Ralph Blizard.


To listen to an MP3 sample, click on a linked title:

  1. Bravest Cowboy
  2. Peach Picking Time Down in Georgia
  3. Ramblin' Man
  4. Leather Britches
  5. Blue Highway
  6. Dear Old Sunny South by the Sea
  7. Richmond Blues (All Night Long)
  8. Midnight on the Water
  9. A Little Yodel Goes a Long Way
  10. My Dixie Darling
  11. Trouble in Mind
  12. Sombody's Waiting for Me
  13. Intro (:13)
  14. House of David Blues
  15. Intro (1:01)
  16. What Does the Deep Sea Say?
  17. Intro (1:11)
  18. Brand New Beau
  19. Intro (1:08)
  20. Hell Among the Yearlings

Tracks 1 - 12 recorded December 4 - 8, 1990 by Byron House at Castle Recording Studio, Franklin, Tennessee. John Lilly, guitar & lead vocals; Ralph Blizard on fiddle.

Tracks 13 - 20 recorded live August 6, 1996 by Flawn Williams at the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College, Elkins, West Virginia. Ralph Blizard, fiddle and lead vocals; John Lilly, guitar and harmony vocals.

Dedicated to the memory of Ralph Blizard (1918 - 2004)

Reviews for Blue Highway

“Old-Time Songs & Longbow Fiddle” is the subtitle of the CD which was put together with recordings by singer and guitarist John Lilly and fiddler Ralph Blizzard. In the 90’s of the last century, these two toured throughout America with their absolutely unique version of “old-time music”. John was 36 at that time and Ralph 72. In 1991, they brought out the collection “Blue Highway” on cassette tape. Now John Lilly has brought out these recordings along with a number of live recordings on CD. The strange thing is that you don’t have the feeling you’re going back twenty years in time, but rather going back eighty years or even further. This is timeless music which is now also being played by younger generations with a lot of pleasure. John Lilly is already singing with an easy facility and playing guitar excellently, though at this point he doesn’t yet have the absolutely relaxed form he adopted later on, and Ralph Blizzard is a phenomenally fine fiddler, as you can hear clearly, for example, in the instrumental piece “Leather Britches”. The song “What Does the Deep Sea Say” is one of the bonus tracks on which you also hear Blizzard singing now and then. The CD “Blue Highway” delivers more than an hour of timeless, old-time music. A beautiful disk.

Moors Magazine

The most beautiful record Nina Simone ever made was recorded live at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960.  Her version of the blues song “Trouble in Mind” has, in my opinion, never been surpassed.  It is a remarkable blues song because a suicide attempt is foreshadowed (“I’ll probably go lie down on the railway track and let the 3:10 train bring peace to my troubled mind”), and then we find out a bit later that the sun is going to shine again.

In the 90’s, singer and guitarist John Lilly and fiddler Ralph Blizzard played their own form of old-time music on tour through America, which makes it seem as though their version of “Trouble in Mind” was recorded in the 30’s.  Lilly sounds noticeably more animated than Simone, although she also sings with remarkable energy.  Both recordings are live.

Moors Magazine