Since its formation 37 years ago, the award-winning Lonesome River Band continues its reputation as one of the most respected names in Bluegrass music. Whether performing on the famous stage of the Grand Ole Opry or headlining major concert events & festivals, their loyal fans continue to support one of the most loved and most influential acts of our time.
Lonesome River Band’s vocal and instrumental talents seamlessly come together as they perform their trademark sound that fans continue to embrace. The outstanding lead vocals and harmony by acclaimed singer-songwriter Brandon Rickman (guitar) and the 2017 IBMA Momentum Award Vocalist of the Year Jesse Smathers (mandolin) are pure magic and put over the top by the exceptional instrumentals of fiddle extraordinaire Mike Hartgrove, top-tier bassist Barry Reed; and five-time IBMA Banjo Player of the Year and Virginia Country Music Hall of Famer Sammy Shelor.
The stellar harmony of Rickman and Smathers vocals is certainly highlighted in the group’s recent albums. In 2018, Lonesome River Band received an IBMA Album of the Year nomination for their self-produced Mayhayley’s House on the Mountain Home Music Company label. They dedicated the album to Mayhayley Lancaster, a self-proclaimed “Oracle of the Ages” who handed out “readings” and personal predictions at her home in southwest Georgia’s Heard County. The bluegrass tinkers of tradition also dedicated the album to its fans; and, to people who understand that traditions once lost are rarely recovered. The musicianship, song selection and vocals are stellar.
In 2017, Lonesome River Band performed at Jim McBride’s induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame along with Alan Jackson, Luke Bryan, Earl Thomas Conley, James LeBlanc, Lee Ann Womack, Dustin Lynch, the Bundys, Craig Campbell, Hillary Lindsey, Clint Lagerberg and Steven Lee Olsen.
This award-winning band again built on their familiar sound while adding bold progressiveness to their March 19, 2016 Mountain Home Music Company album, Bridging the Tradition that made its debut at #2 on Billboard’s Top 10 Bluegrass Album Chart. The album received a 2016 IBMA Award Nomination for Album of the Year along with “Thunder & Lightning” for Song of the Year, “Rockin’ of the Cradle” for Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year, and Sammy Shelor for Banjo Performer of the Year. Lonesome River Band continues to evolve in the ever-changing landscape of Bluegrass and Acoustic Country music. With this album, the band once again delivered incredible, ground-breaking music that is rooted in the tradition it began decades ago.
Also in 2016, band members Sammy Shelor and Mike Hartgrove performed with actor Martin Short when Steve Martin was honored with the 43rd American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award – the highest honor for a career in film. The award was presented to Steve Martin during the gala tribute in Los Angeles, Calif. and aired on TBS. The star-studded event included: Tiny Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Conan O’Brien, Dan Aykroyd, Jack Black, Kevin Nealon, Steve Carell, and many more.
Lonesome River Band’s long career is obviously filled with numerous awards and recognitions including their 2012 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Award for Instrumental Recorded Event of the Year for their song “Angeline the Baker” from their Chronology Volume One album. Sammy Shelor received his fifth win as the IBMA Banjo Performer of the Year in 2012. The group has also received other awards from IBMA including Album of the Year, along with many from SPBGMA including Bluegrass Band of Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Song of the Year and Shelor as a 3-time SPBGMA Banjo Player of the Year award winner.
In 2011, Sammy Shelor received the 2nd Annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Lonesome River Band with special guest Steve Martin performed on the Late Show with David Letterman and the guys also got to sit down with the late-night host where Martin presented the award check to Shelor in a humorous exchange!
Lonesome River Band has been one of the most popular and influential acts in bluegrass music since the release of their breakout album, Carrying The Tradition, back in 1991. As always, with Lonesome River Band, you can be assured their prominence as one of the most influential acts in bluegrass music is here to stay.
Brandon Rickman – guitar, vocals; Jesse Smathers – mandolin, vocals; Mike Hartgrove – fiddle; Barry Reed – bass; Sammy Shelor – banjo