The Lonesome River Band continues their reputation as one of the most respected names in bluegrass music. Longtime band member and award-winning banjo picker, Sammy Shelor has put together a wealth of talent that includes: Brandon Rickman (lead vocals and rhythm guitar); Mike Hartgrove (fiddle); Barry Reed (bass); and newest member, Randy Jones (mandolin and vocals) all performing the distinctive LRB sound fans love.
Rural Rhythm Records released the band’s new album in June 2010 titled Still Learning. The album has hit numerous album charts including Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine’s (BU) Top Fifteen, Bluegrass Music Profiles (BMP) Top Ten, Cashbox Magazine’s Top 20, plus many more. The first single, “Record Time Machine” along with “Jack Up the Jail” and other tracks are appearing on numerous single charts including Bluegrass Unlimited’s Top 30 Song chart.
The band’s 2008 album, No Turning Back (the first CD on the Rural Rhythm label and their twelfth career album) received rave reviews, Number One album and multiple number-one singles. The album made its debut received incredible chart success including: debuting at Number Eleven on Billboard’s Top 50 Bluegrass Album Chart; hitting Number One on Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine’s Top Fifteen Album Chart where it remained for an impressive three months (May, June and July 2009); and the single, “Them Blues” reaching Number One on both the Bluegrass Unlimited Top 30 Singles chart (July and August 2009) and the Bluegrass Music Profiles Top 30 Singles (July 2009). Just those two publications alone - LRB garnered seven Number Ones in 2009! The album also hit the number-one spot on numerous other charts including Cashbox Magazine’s Top 25 Albums.
Lonesome River Band’s long career is obviously filled with a multitude of Awards and Recognitions including the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) honoring the group with multiple awards for Album of the Year and topping it off with an amazing four-time award wins for Shelor as IBMA Banjo Performer of the Year. The group has also received recognition by SPBGMA for numerous Bluegrass Band of Year wins, Vocal Group of the Year, Song of the Year and Shelor as Banjo Player of the Year.
In 2010, Shelor again was nominated the IBMA Banjo Performer of the Year award. The previous year, the band received numerous recognitions including: nomination for the 2009 Instrumental Performance of the Year (“Struttin’ to Ferrum”); 2009 nomination for Gospel Performance of the Year (“Darkness Wept”); and Sammy Shelor’s 2009 nomination for Banjo Performer of the Year. LRB opened the 2009 IBMA Awards Show at the Ryman Auditorium with a tremendous and extremely well received performance. In 2008, they were chosen as an IBMA Showcase Artist and the band regularly performs at the popular IBMA Fan Fest at the yearly convention.
LRB was also included in another album released in 2010, The All-Star Jam – Live at Graves Mountain album (Rural Rhythm Records). The album was recorded in June 2010 during the Graves Mountain Festival of Music in celebration of Rural Rhythm’s 55th Anniversary. Also included in the album were fellow label-mates, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Audie Blaylock & Redline, Lou Reid and Carolina, Carrie Hassler, Brand New Strings and the Crowe Brothers.
Lonesome River Band has been one of the most popular and influential acts on the bluegrass festival and concert circuit since the release of their breakout CD, Carrying the Tradition, back in 1991. That band line-up included current LRB band leader Sammy Shelor, as well as Dan Tyminski, Ronnie Bowman and Lonesome River Band founder, Tim Austin. They recorded a second project for Rebel Records, Old Country Town, before Tyminski accepted a gig with Alison Krauss & Union Station, and Austin decided to leave the road to focus on his recording studio, Doobie Shea.
During his years with LRB, Sammy Shelor has enjoyed performing with such stellar musicians as Kenny Smith, Don Rigsby, Ron Stewart, Rickie Simpkins and Mike Hartgrove (who returned in 2005) - each of whom had moved on to pursue other musical endeavors. With each personnel change, Shelor looked for new musicians who could not only fill a spot that had been left vacant, but also bring in an artist with talents of their own.
The year 2001 brought a lot of new changes with the addition of Brandon Rickman and Jeff Parker along with fiddler Mike Hartgrove, who had just left IIIrd Tyme Out, along with bassist Irl Hees. The band was rewarded rave reviews for Window of Time, the first recording with that band configuration. John Wade soon replaced Hees on bass, and the group the recorded Head on Into Heartache CD.
In 2005, Hartgrove left to join Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and Rickman chose to give up touring to spend more time focusing on songwriting, but more importantly much needed time with his family. With Jeff Parker’s contributions on mandolin and tenor vocals, this took LRB into the next generation returning to the bands aggressive, four piece sound that had brought them to prominence years earlier. Shelor brought on a strong picker and a distinctive singer, Barry Berrier, on bass who had made a name singing lead and playing guitar with The Lost & Found. Shannon Slaughter then came onboard after initially being hired to fill in during the search for a new guitar man.
When this newest version of Lonesome River Band, you can be assured their prominence as one of the most influential acts in bluegrass music is here to stay.