Notable Venues Hot Pickin 57s Has Played
Stubbs // Downtown Austin
Coushatte Pickin’ and Grinnin’ Festival
30th and 31st Annual Grapefest // Grapevine
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts // San Antonio)
Bluebonnet Trails Festival
Grapevine Sunset Series
Texas Heritage Foundation House Concert // Johnson City
Conspirare Fundraiser // Grammy-award winning choir ensemble
Hot Pickin 57s Bio
Hot Pickin 57s is a 4-piece band out of Austin playing standards and originals in bluegrass, classic country, Texas roots, and Americana.
Our instrumentation is acoustic guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin and upright bass, along with lead and harmony vocals.
Hot Pickin is ranked Austin’s #1 Bluegrass band by Reverbnation, and was ranked the #1 Bluegrass band in the United States by Reverbnation (accessed March 21, 2019)
The band formed in January 2016, and had a terrific year with shows at Luckenbach, 30th Annual Grapefest, a 290 Texas House Concert sponsored by the Texas Heritage Music Foundation, and Oskar Blues among many others, with continued success ever since. Hot Pickin released their debut self-titled CD in October 2017. In January 2019 we welcomed Shawn Spiars, a great vocalist and banjo player, and thank Eddie Collins for three great years as he steps down from the band.
• Ranked Austin’s #1 Bluegrass band by Reverbnation
• Ranked United States #1 Bluegrass band by Reverbation (March 21, 2019)
• Moontower Entertainment artist (Austin)
• EVAmore artist (Nashville)
The seeds for the band were planted in 1997. Max was 10 years old. He heard Bill Monroe on Austin City Limits, loved it, and his family started going to hear bluegrass at Artz Rib house in Austin, Texas. Max would tape Eddie Collins’s band, and listen to it for hours, and soon was taking lessons from Eddie. He started playing out a bit and got to do some shows with Eddie and other area pickers. Max, an award winning flat picking guitarist, returned to Austin after earning a degree at the Berklee College of Music in Boston (with majors in guitar and mandolin performance) and began several projects, including Hot Pickin 57s.
Shawn has been playing the 5-string banjo and performing for audiences for over 30 years. Since earning an Associate-of-Arts degree in Bluegrass Music from South Plain College in 1982, he has performed with numerous bands throughout Central Texas including Hard to Make a Living, Sabine River Bend Bluegrass, Blue Country Grass, Randy Collier & Grassland, and now Hot Pickin 57s. His driving banjo style borrows elements from banjo legends Earl Scruggs, Don Reno, and Alan Munde.
Mike Montgomery started classical violin training at age 10. He grew up also immersed in Old Timey and Bluegrass music. While he continued to study violin at college, his love of science led him to a PhD in Astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin. Since graduating, Mike has been working as a professional astronomer, and his research has taken him to Vienna, Cambridge in the UK, and finally back to Austin. Since his return, he has played with Whit Smith's Hot Jazz Caravan, and artists such as Alan Munde, Billy Bright, and Eddie Collins, and now Hot Pickin 57s. Mike also sings harmony vocals.
Vance Hazen rounds out the band on upright bass and lead & harmony vocals. Born in Montana and raised in Ohio, he has branched out, touring across the US, Europe and Japan, playing electric and upright bass with a wide assortment of bands.
Hot Pickin released their debut self-titled CD in October 2017.