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The 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
full bio

Selected Discography

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

2. Carolyn The Teenaged Queen

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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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

Comments

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Great sounds from a group I have never heard of.
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YES INDEED, you blithering old fool! Pack up your underwear an' GIT!
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Mmmmmm....ve r y , v e r y good. Praise the Lord!
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When ya here music like this,makes me won't to play
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I'M WITH YOU ON THAT ONE.
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Ronnie Bowman ,Dan Tyminski, Tim Austin and Sammy Shelor was the best time for the LRB . Wish them 4 could have made more albums together
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Terrific song!!
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Good music we need more of this
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Please stop saying johnny cash he is not bluegrass
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Johnny Cash and Balsam Range are also amazing
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I dont care what my class mates say if your gonna listen to music you listen to bluegrass gosple, specifically the lonesome river band
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Who said Friday the 13 th is in lucky cause I got to see new LRB Nobember 13 2015
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Tim Austin has killer rhythm
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P
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Love that Lonesome River Band...Glory !
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eye bee like inn me some Lonesome River Band music
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L r b rocks
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Heart and soul Music that touches my heart " perfect"
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This is what u wanted baby... so I'm gone, long gone!
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I need to get to West Va and Tennessee, I need to hear some live Bluegrass. This is the best music,
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Johnny cash
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picked up a banjo a few years back , love it ! wish I did long ,long ago . love bluegrass !
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Love me some bluegrass :)
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Oh yes!
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Shannon slauughter was awesome on this cd
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My dad is Jerry McMillan, the original bass player for the band and I think his kind of music is awesome!
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Hot pickin'!!!!!
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niralimurthy
I enjoy bluegrass
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Never heard this group but Good Ole Pandora always brings the best struff to me love Pandora. This group sounding really great.
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brittneylynn 2 5 2
I love that song
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I surely would like to see a reunion of Sammy, Ronnie, Don, Kenny, and Simpkins on fiddle, what many consider to be the best bluegrass band ever!
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shirley_wint e r s
still good singing,
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Rain and Snow... Heard this song by a diff band some years ago and loved the tune. LOVE the blues laced smooth playing and vocals LRB does . LOVE it!
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Love My blugrass. You guys are great.


.

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Love bluegrass music an pandora radio
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Wonderful music
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Kickin and screeming Bluegrass..: o ) ) Yahhooo..!! :o))
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Take me there
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kiss your hand 5 times then post this 2 more times on different songs and look under your pillow and and a ipod will be there.
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shifless
no better bluegrass band around anywhere !
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River Rapid Riding
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Sammy Shelor is IBMA's banjo player of the year. Congrats Sammy!!!
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commint888
Can't wait to hear them live tomorrow night! If you could buy one album which would it be?
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there coming to my hometown in october cant wait to here some good ol bluegrass
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ermancroney
This is a fantastic group with tight harmony and superb musicians. These guys are good examples of what we all (amateurs) are watching and trying to learn from. Thanks
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Their fiddle player, Mike Hartgrove, is my 2nd cousin. I'm very proud of his success with this band.
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rusty0k
they are great
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These guys are great ! I think Sammy must have some cloning device ---
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As a teenager, Sammy Shelor used to pick at my house with my brothers. Glad to see him gain so much success.
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I saw these guys live a few years ago at Bean blossum and they were by far the best part of it!
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