Posted tagged ‘lonesome river band’

LONESOME RIVER BAND, “Mayhayley’s House,” Mountain Home. 13 tracks

June 19, 2017

The Lonesome River Band has come a long way since its formation in 1982 — and seen a lot of personnel changes.

But the banjo of Sammy Shelor has defined the band’s sound for its entire 35-year history.

And despite the occasional drums and pianos in its albums, the band’s sound is still mostly traditional.

The new album, “Mayhayley’s House,” takes its title from a song about Amanda Mayhayley Lancaster, a self-proclaimed oracle, lawyer and farmer who died in 1955.

“Old Coyote Town,” a country hit for Don Williams in 1989, tells the story of an old man who’s settled into a Texas town that’s slowly dying.

“Hickory Holler Times and County News” finds a man looking through his hometown weekly newspaper for a picture of a friend, only to discover that it’s a picture of the guy’s wedding to the singer’s high school flame.

“Blackbirds and Crows” is a murder ballad about a man who kills his wife before she can leave him.

“Wrong Road Again,” a country hit for Crystal Gayle in 1974, gets a bluegrass treatment here.

“As Lonesome As I Am” finds the singer still believing that love will someday find him.

“Diggin’ ” tells the story of a man fighting to keep his head above water financially.

“It Feels Real Good Goin’ Down” finds a man drinking wine and trying to forget a woman.

It’s another good album by a band that’s had a lot of success since Ronald Reagan was in his first term in the White House.

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LONESOME RIVER BAND, “Bridging The Tradition,” Mountain Home, 12 tracks.

February 29, 2016

The Lonesome River Band is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its “Carrying The Tradition” album, which highlighted the bluegrass tradition while adding new elements to the music, with “Bridging The Tradition,” which continues the expansion of the band’s sound.

Drums and piano are a couple of elements traditionalists might find a little jarring.

But they work in this context.

Songs include the traditional “Boats Up The River,” Ralph Stanley‘s “Rock Bottom,” and “Rose in Paradise,” a No. 1 country song by Waylon Jennings in 1987.

But for the most part, the rest of the material is relatively new.

Band member Brandon Rickman co-wrote three — “Showing My Age,” “Mirrors Never Lie” and “Waiting On My Heart To Break.”

“Showing My Age” is one of the album’s highlights.

The singer is facing 40, turning gray and wondering where the years have gone.

“You get old or you die,” he reasons.

And there’s a well-deserved dig at Nashville — “Sure miss country music.”

“Thunder and Lightning” is about a moonshiner.

The rest of the album is about relationships — most of which aren’t working.

The release date is March 18.

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LONESOME RIVER BAND, “Turn on a Dime,” Mountain Home. 12 tracks.

October 27, 2014

After 30-plus years on the road and numerous personnel changes, the Lonesome River Band is still at the top of its game.

But, surprisingly, “Turn on a Dime,” the band’s 17th album, is its first studio album in four years.

Brandon Rickman, the band’s lead singer, co-wrote three of the tracks — “Lila Mae,” “If The Moon Never Sees The Light Of Day” and “Hurting With My Broken Heart.”

Covers include Merle Haggard‘s “Shelly’s Winter Love” and the traditional “Cumberland Gap.”

One of the strongest songs on the album is the gospel ballad, “Holding To The Right Hand,” a song about a man who has fallen and almost given up until he finds salvation.

“Don’t Shed No Tears,” a jazz-influenced gospel song, is about a man asking family and friends not to cry when he dies because he’s heaven bound.

“Every Head Bowed” is a humorous look back at being a child in church with a stomach growling for Sunday dinner.

The title track, “Her Love Don’t Turn on a Dime,” is an uptempo song about a woman who doesn’t care how much money her lover has.

Then there’s “Bonnie Brown,” who is very materialistic.

But it wouldn’t be bluegrass without songs about broken hearts and lost loves.

“Gone And Set Me Free” is about a man leaving town because his woman has left him.

“Lila Mae” is about another woman who’s gone.

“Teardrop Express” finds a man crying for the first time since he was a baby when his woman leaves.

“Hurting With My Broken Heart” is another song about a woman gone and a man hurting.

And “A Whole Lot of Nothing” is about what a woman leaves behind when she’s gone.

Good album by a great band.

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LONESOME RIVER BAND, “Chronology: Volume Three,” Rural Rhythm. 10 tracks.

November 12, 2012

The Lonesome River Band celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, releasing three volumes of music from its three decades of performing.

The band, which has no original members left, is still a vibrant part of the bluegrass scene today.

In October, the Lonesome River Band won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s recorded performance of the year award for its version of “Angeline The Baker.” And Sammy Shelor won his fifth banjo player of the year award from the IBMA.

“Volume Three” in the band’s 30th anniversary series consists of songs selected by fans in a poll earlier this year.

There’s the somewhat creepy “Carolyn The Teenaged Queen,” a song about a man pushing 30 marrying a 14-year-old and then plotting to kill her when she cheats on him 10 years later.

“Sorry County Blues” tells the stories of several people who have fallen on hard times in today’s economy.

“Whoop And Ride” is a blazing song about a man who’s running from the law.

“Stray Dogs And Alley Cats” is a ballad about a man who knows he’s not good enough for heaven, but hopes there’s room for people to empty the garbage cans up there.

“Harvest Time” finds a boy stealing corn and expecting to be shot by the mean farmer who owns it. But the farmer is off making moonshine that night.

Several songs — “Long Gone,” “Am I A Fool,” “Money In The Bank,” “Who Needs You” and “Sittin’ On Top Of The World” — are about broken relationships and men who are trying to deny their pain.

Good album by a band that’s still on top of its game.

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LONESOME RIVER BAND, “Chronology: Volume Two,” Rural Rhythm. 8 tracks.

July 9, 2012

The Lonesome River Band has come a long way since 1982 when Tim Austin, Steve Thomas, Rick Williams and Jerry McMillan formed the group.

They’re all moved on since then, but the LRB is still going strong.

Big names like Ronnie Bowman, Dan Tyminski, Sammy Shelor, Kenny Smith, Don Rigsby, Ron Stewart and Rickie Simpkins have come and gone through the years.

Today, only Shelor remains.

But the LRB continues to reinvent itself, keeping its music fresh.

The current lineup — Shelor, Brandon Rickman, Randy Jones, Mike Hartgrove and Barry Reed — is topping the bluegrass charts just like its predecessors.

And this year, the band is celebrating its 30 years in bluegrass with a collection of three “Chronology” albums — each highlighting music from a particular decade.

“Volume One,” covering the band’s first decade, came out in February. The third will be out in September.

“Volume Two,” released this month, covers the years from 1994 to 2000.

There’s one new track, “Barely Beat The Daylight In,” an uptempo number about a man who’s exhausted from trying to spend every night with the woman he loves and work during the day.

Re-recorded band hits include “The Crime I Didn’t Do,” “Sweet Sally Brown,” “Perfume, Powder and Lead,” “The Game I Can’t Win,” “Tears Are Blinding Me,” “Flat Broke  and Lonesome” and “Dog Gone Shame.”

Yes, the albums are short — just eight songs each.

But they’re good.

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The Lonesome River Band, “Chronology: Volume I,” Rural Rhythm. 8 tracks

February 13, 2012

A lot of bands — bluegrass and otherwise — have come and gone since 1982 when Tim Austin, Steve Thomas, Rick Williams and Jerry McMillan formed the Lonesome River Band.

None of of the four is still with the band.

But the LRB is still going strong.

It took the group a decade to really make its mark in bluegrass with “Carrying The Tradition,” the 1991 album that established the LRB as one of the genre’s top bands.

Of the four members of the band that year — Austin, Ronnie Bowman, Dan Tyminski and Sammy Shelor — only Shelor remains.

Big names like Kenny Smith, Don Rigsby, Ron Stewart and Rickie Simpkins have come and gone through the years.

 But the LRB has done what few bands have done, continuously reinvented itself through the years, staying both popular and relevant.

The current lineup  — Shelor, Brandon Rickman, Randy Jones, Mike Hartgrove and Barry Reed — has turned out two No. 1 albums in a row — “Still Learning” and “No Turning Back.”

 Now, Rural Rhythm Records is celebrating the LRB’s 30th anniversary in bluegrass with three 8-song albums called “Chronology.”

 Volume I will be available on Feb.28.

Seven of the songs are new versions of songs released in the band’s first decade.

“Mary Ann” and “The Old Man in the Shanty” are from the debut album.

 “Close The Door Lightly When You Go” is from 1987.

 “Laura Jean” and “I’m Afraid To Love You Anymore” are from 1989.

And “The Game Is Over” and “Hobo Blues” are from 1991.

 The traditional instrumental, “Angeline The Baker” is the only track on the album that the LRB is recording for the first time.

 Yeah, it’s a short album, but it’s a great way to get reacquainted with the LRB’s roots and hear some great vocals by Rickman and Jones, some fantastic harmony and some outstanding picking.

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THE LONESOME RIVER BAND, “Still Learning,” Rural Rhythm. 13 tracks.

September 13, 2010

Bluegrass bands are like baseball teams. For many of them, the lineup seems to change almost every season.

And the Lonesome River Band, which celebrates its 30th anniversary next year, has seen plenty of great players come and go through the seasons.

 No one from the original lineup — Tim Austin, Steve Thomas, Rick Williams and Jerry McMillan — has been around for more than a decade.

Of the classic lineup from the early 1990s — Austin, Ronnie Bowman, Dan Tyminski and Sammy Shelor — only Shelor remains.

But even with all the lineup changes, the LRB continues to produce some of the best bluegrass around.

The current lineup — Shelor, Brandon Rickman, Andy Ball, Mike Anglin and Mike Hartgrove — has already made its mark.

Their 2008 album, “No Turning Back,” went to No. 1 on several charts and produced two hits — “Them Blues” and “Like A Train Needs A Track.”

“Still Learning” is a worthy successor to “No Turning Back.”

The album is No. 15 on the Bluegrass Unlimited charts this month and the first single, “Record Time Machine,” a uptempo nostalgia song about an old RCA phonograph, is at No. 26 on the singles chart.

There are a couple of grassed up older country songs — Mel Tillis’ “Goodbye Wheeling” from 1967 and Merle Haggard’s “Red Bandana” from 1979 — and a public domain instrumental, “Pretty Little Girl.”

But most of the songs are pretty new.

Rickman co-wrote three — the title cut, “Forty Days in The Desert” and “As Wild As I Get.”

“Forty Days,” an uptempo gospel number about Jesus confronting Satan in the wilderness, is one of the strongest performances on the album.

By and large, this is an album of uptempo material with songs like “Jack Up The Jail,” a blazing tune about a moonshiner who teaches the trade to his wife before he goes to jail, and “Any Old Time,” a galloping song about a man who’ll come running any time she calls.

Purists, take note: Although the LRB’s music is mostly traditional, there is an electric bass on the album.

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