Lonesome River Band has a long established legacy, created by their immediately recognizable sound that has influenced a generation of roots music musicians. This bridging between the worlds of traditional and modern Bluegrass continues with with their new release, Outside Looking In, with songs that reflect who and what this band is and the culture they come from. The album is available now from Mountain Home Music Company.
The flawless groove of the first track, "Generosity Killed This Cat," personifies the "deep-pocket" timing of Lonesome River Band'scelebrated banjo master Sammy Shelor, five-time winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Banjo Player of the Year award and 2011 winner of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.
This groove is heard again in "New Ballards Branch," a song about a place in Southwestern Virginia, with a tone-setting intro by fiddler Mike Hartgrove, and in the title track, "Outside Looking In." These songs and others like"Cassidy's Prayer Book" and "Your Memory Wins Again" contain the heart of the band's message of themes steeped in the genre's tradition, presented in clever lyrics, instrumental prowess, and heartfelt vocals.
Over the decades, the distinguished sound of Lonesome River Band's vocalists have set the band apart. For the last 12 years, guitarist Brandon Rickman has held the role as lead singer. Rickman's vocals on songs like "Wreck of My Heart" are a robust, Country style and a quintessential part of the band's sound. The voice of mandolinst Jesse Smathers is classic in its higher register as he shares lead vocal duties when he's not vaulting above Rickman with his impactful tenor. This is showcased in songs like "Little Magnolia" with its waltz meter and seamless brother-like harmonies.
Together with the baritone parts shared by Shelor and ace bassist Barry Reed, the album's themes of love, betrayal, murder and prayer are portrayed with the shrewd mastery that only a band performing at the highest level can create.
The album closes with Mark Knopfler '80s released, '50s nostalgia tune "Calling Elvis," the first single released off the album. The spirit of the original is captured and transformed in a way that makes for a smooth, well-executed merging of two styles. LRB's "jam" section included in this track shows a band who continues to break the traditional mold musically.
The themes of Outside Looking In are a time-honored part of the Bluegrass canon. They inform the very backbone of the music, and Lonesome River Band has a way of framing them in modern terms moving the genre forward.
Listen to Outside Looking In HERE.
About Lonesome River Band
Since its formation 37 years ago, Lonesome River Band continues its reputation as one of the most respected names in Bluegrass music. Five-time International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Banjo Player of the Year, and winner of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, Sammy Shelor leads the group that is constantly breaking new ground in Acoustic music. With two stellar lead vocalists, Brandon Rickman (guitar) and Jesse Smathers (mandolin), with impressive talents of Mike Hartgrove (fiddle) and Barry Reed (bass), the band seamlessly comes together, performing the trademark sound that fans continue to embrace