Lonesome River Band

Lonesome River Band
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n 2007 Lonesome River Band celebrates 25 years in Bluegrass as one of the most popular and influential acts on the bluegrass festival and conceIt takes a lot ambition for a band to stay together for over 25 years, but the award-winning Lonesome River Band continues to amaze their loyal fans every step of the way. Longtime band member and driving banjo picker, Sammy Shelor has put together a wealth of talent – all the while keeping that distinctive LRB sound. With two strong lead vocalists, Andy Ball (mandolin) and Brandon Rickman (rhythm guitar), along with Mike Anglin on bass and Mike Hartgrove on fiddle, the group continues their reputation of one of most respected names in bluegrass music.

Late 2008, Rural Rhythm Records released The Lonesome River Band’s 12th album, “No Turning Back†debuting at #11 on Billboard’s Top 50 Bluegrass Album Chart. It didn’t take long before the album and single, “Them Blues,†began hitting airplay charts and receiving critical acclaim for this long awaited new album. The Album hit #1 on Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine’s Top 15 Album Chart where it remained for an impressive three months (May, June and July 2009,) with the single, “Them Blues†also reaching number #1 on both the Bluegrass Unlimited Top 30 Singles chart (July and August 2009) and the Bluegrass Music Profiles Top 30 Singles (July 2009.) Yet another single, “Like a Train Needs a Track†is also on its way up the BU Top 30 as well. The album has also reached other #1 spots including Cashbox Magazine’s Top 25 albums (September 2009.)

The Lonesome River Band received well deserved recognition in 2009 by the International Bluegrass Music Association with a nomination for 2009 Instrumental Performance of the Year (Struttin to Ferrum), nomination for Gospel Performance of the Year (Darkness Wept), and Sammy Shelor’s nomination for Banjo Performer of the Year. The group also opened the 2009 IBMA Awards Show at the Ryman Auditorium in 2009 with a tremendous and well received performance. The previous year, LRB had been selected as an official 2008 IBMA Showcase Artists and the band regularly performs at the popular IBMA Fan Fest at the yearly convention.

It’s no secret Sammy Shelor is the driving force that keeps the Lonesome River Band alive, not only with his respected banjo style and talents, but his overall reputation as band leader as evidenced throughout the LRB’s tenure in bluegrass music. On September 18, 2009, Shelor was inducted into the Virginia Music Hall of Fame joining a long list of previous Hall of Famers including: Roy Clark, Mother Mabelle, Mac Wiseman, Statler Brothers, Patsy Cline, Tony Rice, to name a few. His peers in the International Bluegrass Music Association voted him Banjo Player of the Year on four separate occasions and as a testament to his prominence and influence in the banjo world, he has his own signature Sammy Shelor banjo fingerpicks plus a signature model banjo produced by Huber Banjos. Musicians around the world have studied Shelor’s banjo tab books and instructional DVD from AcuTab, so it is not surprising to witness his influence at jam sessions or bluegrass events where licks and phrases which Sam has added to the repertoire are heard alongside those contributed by Earl Scruggs and JD Crowe.

Now in his second stint with Lonesome River band, Brandon Rickman is back and stronger that ever with his distinctive singing (Them Blues, Dime Store Rings, Wires and Wood, I’m Not There Yet, Long Way From Here, Molly, Flowers) plus his songwriting talents, co-penning four of the tunes (Dime Store Rings, I’m Not there Yet, Long Way From Here, We Couldn’t Tell) on No Turning Back. He has also graced two previous LRB albums (Window Of Time and Head On Into Heartache) with his vocals and songs. In June 2009, Rural Rhythm Records released Brandon’s debut solo album, “Young Man, Old Soul†that has received extremely positive reviews and airplay.

As the mandolin player and vocalist with The Lonesome River Band, Andy Ball brings much appreciation and passion for classic bluegrass and country music. His smooth lead vocals on the current album (Like a Train Needs a Track, One Little Teardrop, Somebody’s Missing You, We Couldn’t Tell, Darkness Wept, I’d Worship You) fit beautifully with the classic LRB sound.

Mike Hartgrove, or “Grove†as his friends like call him, is among the most experienced fiddlers in bluegrass music. He’s performed with The Bluegrass Cardinals, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and was founding member of IIIrd Tyme with whom he toured and recorded with for 11 years before joining Lonesome River Band in 2002. He left LRB in 2005, but is back – much to the delight of the band. Mike has also worked in country music with Moe Bandy and the legendary George Jones.

Mike Anglin joined The Lonesome River Band in February of 2007 and has gained a reputation as a stellar bass player throughout the bluegrass and country industry. He’s toured and recorded with the likes of Del McCoury, Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time, Ronnie Bowman, Melonie Cannon, 3 Fox Drive, Continental Divide, Larry Stephenson, and Charlie Sizemore. It is no wonder he has won several International Bluegrass Music Awards, including his participation in the Album of the Year award in 2006.

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 Banjo Performer of the Year. The group has also received recognition by SPBGMA for multiple Bluegrass Band of Year wins, Vocal Group of the Year, Song of the Year and Shelor as Banjo Player of the Year.

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.

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