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Lonesome River Band

The Lonesome River Band have withstood numerous personnel changes to merge as one of the best respected bands in bluegrass. Although rooted in the traditional sounds of Flatt & Scruggs and Bill Monroe, the Lonesome River Band continue to set standards of their own. The recipients of the SPBGMA award as Vocal Group of 1997, the Lonesome River Band continue to fuse ultra-tight vocal harmonies with virtuosic musicianship and well-conceived arrangements.

The original lineup of the Lonesome River Band was assembled by banjo player-turned-lead vocalist and -rhythm guitarist Tim Austin and featured Steve Thomas on mandolin and fiddle, Rick Williams on banjo, and Jerry McMillan on bass. After attracting attention on the local bluegrass circuit in Virginia, the Lonesome River Band released their debut album, I Guess Heartaches Are in Style This Year, in 1985 on the regional label Shar-Lynn. Their national debut came with a self-titled album, released by Rebel, the following year.

The Lonesome River Band have been evolving at a steady clip since the early-'90s with the arrival of lead vocalist and bass player Ronnie Bowman and banjo ace Sammy Shelor. North Carolina-born Bowman sang gospel music with a family group from age three until his late teens and is equally effective singing traditional bluegrass tunes as he is voicing songs by contemporary singer/songwriters. Shelor, who inherited his love of the banjo from his grandfathers, began to play the five-stringed instrument at age five. Although he learned his early technique from an old-timey clawhammer banjo player Carp Ayers, Shelor's approach to the instrument has been as much influenced by the playing of Earl Scruggs, J.D. Crowe, Ben Eldridge, Allen Shelton, Pete Wernick, and Béla Fleck. Shaping his performance skills with local bluegrass bands in North Carolina and Virginia, Shelor was a founding member of the Virginia Squires in 1983. He remained with the Squires until 1989 when he was joined the Lonesome River Band.

The reorganized Lonesome River Band hit their stride with their first album together, Carrying the Tradition, which debuted at the top slot on the best-selling charts compiled by Bluegrass Unlimited. It remained on the charts for five months before being supplanted by the band's next release, Old Country Town, which remained at the number one position for six months.

In the aftermath of their success, founding member Tim Austin left the Lonesome River Band to devote more time to working in his home recording studio, Doobie Shea. Although he was replaced by Kenny Smith, of Claire Lynch's Front Porch String Band, Austin continued to work with the Lonesome River Band on their albums. The newest member of the Lonesome River Band, Don Rigsby, who sings tenor vocals and plays mandolin, is a veteran of such bands as J.D. Crowe & the New South, the Bluegrass Cardinal, and previously worked with Vern Gosdin. The first album by the reconstructed lineup, One Step Forward, was released in 1996.

Each member of the current Lonesome River Band has recorded memorable solo albums. Bowman, who was named Vocalist of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) in 1995, delivered the most successful of the solo albums, Cold Virginia Night, which won the IBMA award as Best Album of the Year in 1997. Bowman followed it with a second solo album, The Man I'm Tryin to Be in 1998. Shelor, who was named the IBMA's Banjo Player of the Year in 1995 and 1998, released Leading Roll in 1997 with guest appearances by Tony Rice, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, and Alan O'Bryant of the Nashville Bluegrass Band. Rigsby's solo debut, A Vision, celebrated his religious views and featured a duet with Ralph Stanley. Smith's Studebaker, released in 1997, spotlighted his songwriting talents and featured instrumental and vocal support from the other members of the Lonesome River Band.

The Lonesome River Band were featured on several tracks of John Fogerty's 1997 album Blue Moon Swamp. Their Finding the Way album followed a year later, and in mid-2000 the group returned with Talkin' to Myself. 2002 saw the release of Window of Time, another crisp set of expertly rendered picking and singing, followed by Head on into Heartache in 2005. In 2006, the band added Knoxville, TN, dobro player Matt Leadbetter (son of dobro player Phil Leadbetter), who appeared on Road with No End, released that year. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Bridging The Tradition

1. Anything To Make Her Mine

2. Rocking Of The Cradle

3. Boats Up The River

4. Rock Bottom

5. Rose In Paradise

6. Showing My Age

7. Old Swinging Bridge

8. Mirrors Never Lie

9. Thunder And Lightning

10. Waiting On My Heart To Break

11. Runnin' From The Blues

12. Real People

x

Track List: Chronology Volume 2

1. Barely Beat The Daylight In

2. The Crime I Didn't Do

3. Sweet Sally Brown

4. Perfume, Powder And Lead

5. The Game I Can't Win

6. Tears Are Blinding Me

7. Flat Broke And Lonesome

8. Dog Gone Shame

x

Track List: Chronology, Vol. 1

1. Close The Door Lightly When You Go

2. The Old Man In The Shanty

3. Laura Jean

4. The Game Is Over

5. Mary Ann

6. I'm Afraid To Love You Anymore

7. Hobo Blues

8. Angeline The Baker

x

Track List: Chronology, Volume 3

1. Long Gone

3. Am I A Fool

4. Whoop And Ride

5. Money In The Bank

6. Stray Dogs And Alley Cats

7. Who Needs You

8. Harvest Time

9. Sorry County Blues

10. Sittin' On Top Of The World

x

Track List: Saturday Night, Sunday Morning

1. Kentucky Girl

2. Close The Door Lightly When You Go

3. Light At The River

4. It Won't Be Like Cheating

5. I Have Found The Way

6. Lost And Lonesome For You

7. Lover's Lane

8. On The Other Side Of Jordan

9. Daybreak In Dixie

10. My Lord Keeps Me Satisfied

x

Track List: Still Learning

1. Record Time Machine

2. Goodbye Wheeling

3. I'm Still Learning

4. Jack Up The Jail

5. Telling Me You Love Me Again

6. Forty Days In The Desert

7. Any Old Time

8. Don't Cry Blue

9. As Wild As I Get

10. High Lonesome

11. Red Bandana

12. I've Seen The Blues

13. Pretty Little Girl

x

Track List: No Turning Back

1. Them Blues

2. Like A Train Needs A Track

3. Dime Store Rings

4. One Little Teardrop

5. Wires And Wood

6. Somebody's Missin' You

7. Not There Yet

8. Long Way From Here

9. Depression

10. Molly

11. Darkness Wept

12. I'd Worship You

13. Struttin' To Ferrum

14. Flowers

x

Track List: Americana Master Series - Best Of The Sugar Hill Years

1. Highway Paved With Pain

2. Old Country Town

3. Solid Rock

4. Who Needs You

5. When You Go Out Walking

6. Flat Broke And Lonesome

7. Carolyn The Tennessee Queen

8. Katy Daley

9. Sweet Sally Brown

10. Perfume, Powder And Lead

11. Baby Come Home

12. Am I A Fool

13. Are You Ashamed To Call Me Darlin'

14. Mary Ann

15. Harvest Time

16. Swing That Hammer

x

Track List: The Road With No End

1. Lonesome Won't Get The Best Of Me

2. Won't Be Over You

3. What I'd Give To Be The Wind

4. You Can't Break My Heart

5. Whoop And Ride

6. Hereafter

7. Brother To The Blues

8. A Step Away

9. New Love

10. She's No Lady

11. Prisoners Lament

12. Stranger In Your Eyes

13. Hillbilly Catfight

x

Track List: Head On Into Heartache

1. Tears In My Tracks

2. Coming Home To You

3. Raleigh And Spencer

4. Take It To The Valley

5. The Legend Of Jonas Willingham

6. I'm Wasting My Time

7. Lost And Lonesome For You

8. The Best Thing That I Had Going

9. She Changed Her Mind

10. Gonna Have Myself A Ball

11. Little Birdie

12. Summer You First Loved Me

13. This Old Heart

x

Track List: Window Of Time

1. Down The Line

2. How I Long To Be In The Mountains

3. Missed It By A Mile

4. Weary Day

5. Rounder's Spirit

6. Stray Dogs And Alley Cats

7. My Heart Belongs To You

8. Tune Of A Twenty Dollar Bill

9. Give The Devil An Inch

10. Honey I'm Ramblin Away

11. Don't Go Out Tonight My Darlin

12. You Are Everything

13. Tomahawk

x

Track List: Talkin' To Myself

1. Swing That Hammer

2. Talkin' To Myself

3. Dog Gone Shame

4. The Place Where You Can Bury Me

5. No One Can Love You Dear (The Way I Do)

6. Mary Ann

7. Are You Ashamed To Call Me Darlin'

8. Harvest Time

9. The Crime I Didn'T Do

10. Willow Garden

11. Do You Want To Live In Glory

12. I Won't Be Calling For You

x

Track List: Finding The Way

1. Am I A Fool

2. Love's Come Over Me

3. Let It Go

4. Cardboard Mansion

5. Perfume, Powder And Lead

6. Baby Come Home

7. Another By My Side

8. Don't Worry 'Bout Daddy

9. Finding Your Way

10. Up On The Shelf

11. Better Days To Come

12. Sweet Sally Brown

13. Devil Chased Me Around The Stump

x

Track List: One Step Forward

1. When You Go Walking

2. Say I Do

3. Sorry County Blues

4. Southern Comfort

5. Thank God For A Mama

6. Flat Broke And Lonesome

7. Carolyn The Teenage Queen

8. Crossroads

9. Katy Daley

10. This Lonesome Song

11. Crazy Heart

12. Georgia Mail

x

Track List: Old Country Town

1. Highway Paved With Pain

2. Old Country Town

3. Tears Are Blinding Me

4. Long Gone

5. (Listen To) The Old Man

6. Who Needs You

7. The Game (I Can't Win)

8. Running Hard On A Broken Heart

9. She's About Trouble

10. Solid Rock

11. I'll Take The Blame

12. Old Lonesome, Welcome Back

x

Track List: Carrying The Tradition

1. Sitting On Top Of The World

2. I Can't Get You Off My Mind

3. Heartless Love

4. Listen To The Word Of God

5. You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do

6. The Game Is Over

7. Cabin Of Love

8. Money In The Bank

9. Hobo Blues

10. Fireball Mail

11. I'm Coming Back (But I Don't Know When)

12. Counting The Days

13. My Sweet Blue-Eyed Darlin'

x

Track List: Looking For Yourself

1. Looking For Yourself

2. Afraid To Love You

3. It Almost Feels Like Love

4. Rocky Road Blues

5. Brother John

6. Laura Jean

7. If I Could Only Have Your Love

8. I'd Worship You

9. Rock And Roll

10. Amanda Linsong

x

Track List: Turn On A Dime

1. Her Love Won't Turn On A Dime

2. Gone And Set Me Free

3. Lila Mae

4. Don't Shed No Tears

5. If The Moon Never Sees The Light Of Day

6. Teardrop Express

7. Bonnie Brown

8. Every Head Bowed

9. Shelly's Winter Love

10. Hurting With My Broken Heart

11. A Whole Lot Of Nothing

12. Holding To The Right Hand

13. Cumberland Gap

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weaverwood61
Awesome group

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