A statement from Sammy Shelor

The following is a statement from Sammy Shelor, in which he comments on and responds to the many rumors that have been circulating about him and the future of Lonesome River Band. We have enabled commenting on this post so please feel free to respond to Sammy, or share your thoughts about his statement – or my closing comments – here on Bluegrass Today.

“I guess it”s time to dispel the rumors that have been floating around the Bluegrass world about myself and the Lonesome River Band.

First of all, I have not gone to work with the Seldom Scene!

Ben Eldridge, one of my favorite people in the Bluegrass industry, is still alive and well and playing as great as he ever did. The only thing that I ever said about this matter is that if Ben ever retired from that band, that would be a job I would seriously consider. I guess it”s my fault for telling anyone this because the “rumor mill” has blown this totally out of context.

Secondly, the Lonesome River Band is still in existence. There are going to be personnel changes, but what else is new in the Bluegrass business. Because of the economy these days, members have been forced to make changes in their careers, hence changes in LRB. There have been at least 25 different players in LRB since it started in the early 1980″s, and with every change, there has always been a slightly different sound in the band. There are no bluegrass “clones” out there, but with each change, we have tried to maintain a standard in the LRB sound. This will hold true in what we do in the future. Just give it a chance because you cannot compare apples to oranges. Hopefully the public will accept what we will do next.

I did consider at one point giving it a rest for a while, and it again was my fault for discussing this with anyone. With today”s technology, rumors and stories grow at a rate far too fast for my lifestyle. Because of promoters, buyers, DJ”s, and print media reading chat groups and internet newsletters, we are having to do a lot of damage control in order to keep the band going. I personally have not read any of these stories because I do not want to have hard feelings against anyone who has spread these stories without consulting me first. I do not want to know who you are.

All I ask is that you consider the people that are out here trying to bring you quality music and are trying to support their families by doing so. This is a hard business to succeed in, and negative rumors and stories help no one. Just try to include the facts.”

“Walk a mile in my boots”
Thank you!
Sammy Shelor
Lonesome River Band

Let me add a personal comment, and say something that Sam didn’t: Internet gossip and rumor-mongering is as unattractive a trait, and as potentially damaging an activity as any other kind of gossip ever was – but with a speed and penetration that no network of backyard fences ever could command. I understand the appeal, and am probably as guilty as the next person when it comes to sharing “what I just heard” with friends and family.

But most of us learned at an early age that some information is not for general distribution, and it seems to me that anyone who works in or near the world of professional bluegrass music has a particular responsibility to hold private conversations with other industry folks in confidence. “Don’t tell everything you know” is still wise counsel.

The thing that has caused real damage to Sam and Lonesome River Band is the act of taking casual gossip public in an online chat forum or wide distribution email list. Would you be proud to know that you cost a professional act several thousand dollars in much-needed income by “reporting” as fact something that you had simply heard whispered by another picker at a festival? It was seeing this sort of thing build on itself online that had festival promoters concerned that a major act might not be able to fulfill their contractual obligations for 2006 and beyond, and has put Sammy Shelor in this “damage control” mode.

These artists make very real personal sacrifices to bring the music we all love to us where we live. Yes, they have made this choice, and they have to accept the good and the bad, but please people, when you indulge in gossip or pass along rumors, be aware of the damage it can cause. If you make such information public online, make a serious effort to find out whether it has any truth before passing it along as fact, and if you are simply repeating gossip or supposition, make that plain.

Be assured that you will not see unsourced, unfounded information like that here on Bluegrass Today. In fact, combating it was a major part of the reason this site was launched.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.