Lonesome River Band Receives Four 2016 IBMA Nominations

Lonesome River Band

As announced during this morning’s International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) press conference held at the Sirius XM studios in Nashville, Lonesome River Band received four 2016 IBMA Award Nominations including one for Album of the Year for Bridging the Tradition. This groundbreaking album, released in March on Mountain Home Music Company, includes two nominated tracks – “Thunder and Lightning” written by Adam Wright for Song of the Year and “Rocking of the Cradle” written by Kim Williams and Doug Johnson for Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year.

lrb_11.15-214One of the most talented and well-loved banjo players of our time, Sammy Shelor, received a nomination for Banjo Performer of the Year, an Award he has been presented with five times during his impressive career.  Shelor is a member of the Virginia Country Music of Fame, winner of the 2nd Annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, and a multi-award winning SPBGMA Banjo Player of the Year.  While not on his busy tour with Lonesome River Band, Shelor is in high demand as a guest artist. He has performed with the Zac Brown Band, toured and recorded with Alan Jackson promoting Jackson’s “The Bluegrass Album,” along with fellow LRB band member Mike Hartgrove, performed with actor and comedian Martin Short during the 43rd Life Achievement Award Show Honoring Steve Martin in Hollywood.

Since its formation 34 years ago, Lonesome River Band continues its reputation as one of the most respected names in Bluegrass music. 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), combined with the impressive talents of Mike Hartgrove (fiddle) and Barry Reed (bass), the band seamlessly comes together, performing the trademark sound that fans continue to embrace.

The 27th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards will be held Thursday, September 29, 2016 at Raleigh’s Duke Energy Center for The Performing Arts in Raleigh, North Carolina.  For more information on IBMA, please visit ibma.org.

For more information on Lonesome River Band, please visit LonesomeRiverBand.com and join them on Twitter and Instagram.   #LonesomeRiverBand #LRB


Sammy Shelor & Mike Hartgrove Perform with Martin Short at 43rd AFI Life Achievement Award Show in Hollywood Honoring Steve Martin

Photo by Josh Trivett
Photo by Josh Trivett

Lonesome River Band members Sammy Shelor and Mike Hartgrove performed last night 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 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, Calif. and will air June 13th on TBS at 10:00 p.m. 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.

While Steve Martin was made aware of the guests that would be appearing on stage during the event, Sammy Shelor was his one surprise guest. Martin had previously awarded Shelor with the 2nd Annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. In honor of that award, the Lonesome River Band performed with Steve Martin on the Late Night with David Letterman and they also sat down with the talk show host for an entertaining interview.

Sammy Shelor and Martin Short during rehearsal for their performance during 43rd AFI Life Achievement Show honoring Steve Martin
Sammy Shelor and Martin Short during rehearsal for their performance during 43rd AFI Life Achievement Show honoring Steve Martin

Sammy Shelor is undoubtedly one of the most influential and most in-demand banjo players of our time. His extraordinary talents and magnetic personality are certainly key to his success as he leads the multi-award winning Lonesome River Band. Shelor is a member of the Virginia Music Hall of Fame, a 5-time winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association Banjo Player of the Year Award, and 3-time winner of the SPBGMA Banjo Performer of the Year Award. Shelor recorded and performed with country super star Alan Jackson and returned to the Late Show with David Letterman to perform “Blacktop” from Jackson’s The Bluegrass Album. In between Lonesome River Band’s busy tour dates, Shelor is in high demand as a guest artist and has performed on stage with Zac Brown, and more high profile artists.

Mike “Grove” Hartgrove is among the most experienced fiddlers in bluegrass music, having performed with the likes of George Jones, Moe Bandy, The Bluegrass Cardinals, and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. He was a founding IIIrd Tyme Out with whom he toured and recorded with for 11 years before joining Lonesome River Band.

Conan O'Brien and Sammy Shelor at the 43rd AFI Life Achievement Award Show honoring Steve Martin Photo Credit: Josh Trivett
Conan O’Brien and Sammy Shelor at the 43rd AFI Life Achievement Award Show honoring Steve Martin
Photo Credit: Josh Trivett

Earlier this week, Lonesome River Band made several announcements including the addition of a new band member, Jesse Smathers, their #1 Bluegrass Unlimited Top 30 Song Chart hit single, “Her Love Won’t Turn On A Dime” from their Billboard Bluegrass Top 10 Album, Turn On A Dime (Mountain Home Music), and the TV debut of their music video “Lila Mae.”

The Lonesome River Band’s full line-up includes Sammy Shelor on Banjo & Vocals, Brandon Rickman on Guitar, Lead & Harmony Vocals; Mike Hartgrove on fiddle, Barry Reed on bass, and Jesse Smathers on Mandolin and Lead & Harmony Vocals. For more information and a complete tour schedule, please visit www.lonesomeriverband.com and join them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.



Sammy Shelor and Martin Short during rehearsal for their performance during 43rd AFI Life Achievement Show honoring Steve Martin
Sammy Shelor and Martin Short during rehearsal for their performance during 43rd AFI Life Achievement Show honoring Steve Martin
Sammy Shelor and Mike Hartgrove at 43rd Life Achievement Award Show Honoring Steve Martin Photo Credit Josh Trivett
Martin Short and Sammy Shelor reheard for 43rd Life Achievement Award Show Honoring Steve Martin Photo Credit Josh Trivett


Sleepy Man Banjo Boys Debut at #3 on Billboard’s Top Bluegrass Chart as they Reach Over 12 Million YouTube Views

Fresh off the sacred stage of the Ryman Auditorium where they kicked off a stirring tribute to the late Earl Scruggs with actor Steve Martin, the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys are pleased to announce the release of their new album, The Farthest Horizon.  The album debuted at #3 on Billboard’s Top Bluegrass Album Chart last week and is now available at iTunes, Amazon, www.sleepymanbanjoboys.com and more outlets.

The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, a bluegrass trio of brothers, became an overnight sensation in 2011 after practice recordings for their grandparents went viral on YouTube.  These videos have now collectively topped over 12 million views.  Tommy (Guitar), age 15, Robbie (Fiddle), age 13 and Jonny (Banjo) age 10, were encouraged by their parents to learn an instrument and first discovered their love for Bluegrass music by watching Earl Scruggs pick his five string on YouTube. Since then, the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys have developed a style and sound that is uniquely their own and as a result of their viral, virtually overnight success, their talent has been showcased on national television shows, including CBS’s The Late Night with David Letterman Show, NBC’s The Today Show and Fox’s Huckabee.

The Farthest Horizon is poised to follow the success of their debut album America’s Music, with 11 fresh tracks, seven of which were penned by the boys themselves. Two of the songs on the new album also feature the beautiful and authentic voice of 13-year-old Ashley Lilly, granddaughter of the late bluegrass legend Everett Lilly.

In support of the album, the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys will be traveling coast to coast visiting with the media, radio broadcasters and fans. Their next performance will be on the grand stage of Carnegie Hall for a special performance for Kate Winslet’s Golden Hat Foundation benefiting autism research.

Radio stations worldwide have welcomed The Farthest Horizon sending it to #4 this month on AirplayDirect’s Global Radio Indicator Top 50 APD Bluegrass/Folk Albums Chart.

The Farthest Horizon is a six panel digipak and includes descriptions of the songs and some fun behind-the-scenes album facts.  For more information, song titles and to sample tracks from the new album, visit http://www.sleepymanbanjoboys.com.

Loudoun Bluegrass Festival features Award-Winning Lonesome River Band

LONESOME RIVER BAND will headline the 3rd Annual Loudoun Bluegrass Festival on May 12, 2012 at the  Loudoun County 4H Fairgrounds,  just outside Leesburg, VA.  The event begins at 10:00 am and continues until 9:00 pm featuring numerous bands, BBQ, open jam sessions, kids’ shows, workshops, and pickin’ contests with cash prizes. The Loudoun Bluegrass Festival is presented by Rotary Club of Dulles International Airport. All profits help pay tuition for deserving local students who otherwise could not afford college.

Lonesome River Band is lead by Virginia Country Music Hall of Famer, Sammy Shelor who is a 4-time winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association Banjo Player of the Year Award, and most recently won the Steve Martin Award for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass which was presented on the Late Show with David Letterman last November. 

In addition, other nationally-recognized bands, Big Chimney, The Hot Seats and the Chance McCoy Band will perform at the festival.

Pickin’ competitions in Banjo, Fiddle, Guitar and Mandolin will showcase some incredible talent. Grammy™ award winning bluegrass artist, John Starling, a founding member of the Seldom Scene will serve as one of the judges in the competition. Cash prizes will be awarded to winners in each discipline.

Workshops will be provided by well-known local musicians. See www.BluegrassLoudoun.com for more information on how to pre-register for the workshops and contests as well as for more information and any of the activities.

Get your tickets online NOW at www.BluegrassLoudoun.com and save 25% on the cost of adult tickets! Tickets are only $15 in advance.

Loudoun County 4H Fairgrounds is in a beautiful, park-like setting, just outside Leesburg VA. The Main Stage for the Festival will be inside the large Show Barn, with plenty of room for a large crowd. The smaller barns on the grounds will provide space for the many jam sessions and workshops during the day. Last year, the weather was warm and sunny, and there was plenty of music and fun, inside and out.

New for this year – Local artisans will display and sell their wares. Again this year, local wineries will offer their tastings, and will sell their wine by the glass, bottle or case.  And, the charity “Clipped Wings” will sell draft beer and soft drinks raising funds for the Special Olympics.

More new events this year will be children’s activities and with shows especially for kids. Also included will be a ‘Barn Dance’ called by Tom Hinds with great live old-time music performed by The Chance McCoy Band. The barbecue will be prepared and served by Carolina Brothers BBQ of Ashburn.

About Rotary Club: Rotary’s main objective is service — in the community, in the workplace, and around the globe. The 1.2 million Rotarians who make up more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in nearly every country in the world share a dedication to the ideal of Service Above Self. Rotary clubs are open to people of all cultures and ethnicities and are not affiliated with any political or religious organizations.

Please visit www.BluegrassLoudoun.com to purchase tickets, sign up for contest and preview the bands.  Tickets are $15 online ($20) at the gate $8 for age 7 -13 and free for 6 and under.

Lonesome River Band includes the talents of Sammy Shelor, Brandon Rickman, Mike Hartgrove, Barry Reed and Randy Jones.  The band is celebrating their new album, CHRONOLOGY, VOLUME ONE on Rural Rhythm Records.

Brandon Rickman heads to Atlanta, Asheville & East Tenn after Late Show with David Letterman appearance

Singer/Songwriter Brandon Rickman Kicks off Tour in Atlanta:

The Voice for the Lonesome River Band in solo concerts following appearance on Late Night with David Letterman with the Lonesome River Band and Steve Martin

In addition to his performances as the lead singer and guitarist with the Lonesome River Band,  Brandon Rickman will be performing solo shows at singer/songwriter events in Atlanta, GA, Kingsport, TN and Black Mountain, NC. His upcoming 3-day Fall Tour kicks off at the Red Light Cafe in Atlanta and wraps up near Asheville, North Carolina.  On November 11th, Brandon will be performing with the Lonesome River Band and Steve Martin on the TV show Late Night with David Letterman.

Brandon Rickman hails from the farming community of Purdy, Missouri. A product of a musical family, Rickman grew up playing guitar though he picked up the upright bass just hours before playing his first show as a member of the esteemed bluegrass gospel group, New Tradition. Prior to joining the Lonesome River Band, he spent 2001 appearing with award-winning bluegrass singer and songwriter Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time.  These great musical experiences have provided Rickman with a wide range of material. The songs he will perform in his solo shows will draw heavily on his original material ranging from lighthearted songs like “I Bought Her a Dog” to powerful gospel and deep and soulful cover tunes like “Rain and Snow”.

Rickman’s shows include a stop at the Red Light Café in Atlanta, Georgia on November 17th, The Bus Pit in Kingsport, Tennessee on November 18th, and The White Horse Black Mountain on November 19th. Other dates are planned for December 2011 and solo performances are confirmed for 2012 including the Historic Jonesborough (TN) Bluegrass Series. Additional details are available at www.brandonrickman.com

In 2009 Rural Rhythm Records released Brandon’s solo album, YOUNG MAN, OLD SOUL. This successful album appeared in WNCW Radio’s Top 50 CDs of the Year (2010) and received numerous other honors. Two singles, “Always Have Always Will” and “I Bought Her a Dog” appeared on the Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine Top 30 Song chart; and the track, “Wearin Her Knees Out Over Me” won the Strictly Country Magazine’s Song of the Year in 2010.

“I look forward taking my solo show to many listening rooms and venues around the country. It will be different from the shows I currently do with the Lonesome River Band as for the most part it will just be me and a guitar.” said Rickman.  “I’m excited about the upcoming solo tour and visiting East Tennessee and the Asheville area.  I’m also looking forward to the work I’ll be doing with the Lonesome River Band in 2012. 2012 is going to be a great year!”

Additional details on Brandon Rickman are available at www.brandonrickman.com or www.mountainmusicentertainment.com

Sammy Shelor Wins Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass

As reported in the The New York Times this week, Steve Martin announced Sammy Shelor is the second winner of The Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Sammy and the Lonesome River Band will perform with Steve Martin on the “Late Show With David Letterman” Nov. 3, 2011 airing NOVEMBER 11, 2011.

The Steve Martin Prize is chosen by a who’s who list of talents including Steve Martin, Earl Scruggs, Pete Wernick, Tony Trishchka, Bela Fleck and more.  Shelor was overjoyed when learning of the news today and said, “It is truly an honor to be considered for an award like this and especially an honor to be recognized by people that I respect highly as contributors to bluegrass music.”

Sammy Shelor, who is a four-time International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Banjo Performer of the Year award winner, was again nominated this year in that category.  Lonesome River Band also received nominations for Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year for their song “Pretty Little Girl” from their current album, “Still Learning” and also for Album of the Year for their participation on “The All-Star Jam – Live at Graves Mountain” album.   Both albums appear on the Nashville based Rural Rhythm Records label.

Lonesome River Band members were also part of two other nominations for the live album including Sammy Shelor, Brandon Rickman and Mike Hartgrove for Instrumental Recorded Event of the Year (“Groundspeed”) and Sammy Shelor and Mike Hartgrove as part of the Recorded Event of the Year nomination (“Graves Mountain Memories.”)  Winners will be announced at the IBMA Awards Show September 29, 2011 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN.  The Lonesome River Band will also be performing during this awards show.

Sammy Shelor joined Lonesome River Band in 1990 and has led the band since 2000.  He has his own signature Sammy Shelor banjo fingerpicks and a signature model banjo produced by Huber Banjos.  Banjo pickers all over the world have studied Sammy’s tab books and instructional DVD from AcuTab.The Lonesome River Band includes the talents of Sammy Shelor, Brandon Rickman, Mike Hartgrove, Barry Reid, and Randy Jones.  For more information, please visit LonesomeRiverBand.com.

Grammy Nomination for Michael Martin Murphey

Rural Rhythm Records is very proud to announce Michael Martin Murpheys GRAMMY® nomination for BEST BLUEGRASS ALBUM, BUCKAROO BLUE GRASSreleased last February.  “We are so happy for Murph on his Grammy® Album Nomination!  He has worked so hard to get his bluegrass album done right in a way that honors, respects and maintains the integrity of bluegrass music and at the same time presents his classic songs in a new and fresh Buckaroo Blue Grass style.  Certainly having some of today’s top bluegrass artists performing on the album has helped accomplish Murph’s vision for the Buckaroo Blue Grass album,” said Rural Rhythm Records President, Sam Passamano, Jr.

This Billboard™ TOP 50 BLUEGRASS chart album (retail sales) album has received other impressive attention this year including holding the #1 spot on the Roots Music Bluegrass Report (airplay) for three weeks in a row last month.  CMT.com recently posted a feature article “Michael Martin Murphey Embraced by Bluegrass”, plus named the album in their Top 10 Independent Releases Worth Checking Out article earlier this year.
“BUCKAROO BLUE GRASS” includes numerous fan favorites including, “Carolina in the Pines,” “Lone Cowboy,” and many more.  Another track from the album, “Close to the Land (America’s Heartland),” is now in its fourth year as the theme song for the national hit television show America’s Heartland, and also includes a VIDEO RELEASE.  This music video includes images from Paul Mobley’s book, THE AMERICAN FARMER – a recent winner of the Book of the Year Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

Murphey was extremely grateful for the nomination and said, “It’s wonderful to be mentioned as a Grammy® nominee in the company of people like Steve Martin who has done so much for the bluegrass genre this year.  I am so thankful to the Producer, my son, Ryan Murphey and Patt Flynn who organized the players (Sam Bush, Rob Ickes, Charlie Cushman, Andy Leftwich, Ronnie McCoury, Ryan Murphey, Craig Nelson, Pat Flynn, Tim Stidolph, Clay Riness, Matt Wilkes, David Davidson), Keith Compton (Engineer), and Rhonda Vincent who provided vocals and is also a Grammy® nominee in the same category.”

“I’m very grateful to all of the bluegrass bands that have recorded my songs over the years. I’m so blessed to have the support of my real family including my wife Karen, plus my new adopted family, Rural Rhythm Records that includes all the Passamano family and Penni McDaniel. I’m thankful for my Agent, Mike Drudge who introduced me to the Rural Rhythm family. He keeps us very busy on the road and I appreciate the support from PLA Media as well,” he continued.

Murphey’s performances were extremely well received during the recent International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass convention held in Nashville.  Fans were thrilled when he appeared on stage with #1 bluegrass artist, Carrie Hassler, to perform a duet of “WILDFIRE,” and also “RUNNING GUN” with bluegrass veteran, Audie Blaylock & Redline.  Both of these new single releases will appear on “BUCKAROO BLUE GRASS II (Riding Song) set for a February 9, 2010 release.

Many fans have been curious about the spelling of “BLUE GRASS” on the CD instead of “bluegrass” so record label President, Sam Passamano previously explained, “When Murph and I were developing the cover art for ‘BUCKAROO BLUE GRASS, I mentioned that it would be cool if we used the old school alternative spelling for Blue Grass that can be found on many classic albums by our Bluegrass Legends and many of our Rural Rhythm titles released in the 60’s that almost always used this ‘Blue Grass alternative spelling.  Murph thought that this would be a nice touch to connect something from the genres past to the present as he delivers his own Bluegrass style to many of the well known and loved, Michael Martin Murphey classic songs.”

For more information on Michael Martin Murphey and his Grammy nominated album, BUCKAROO BLUE GRASS,” please visit his site or Rural Rhythm.