Big changes for Lonesome River Band

Sammy Shelor has announced a big change coming next month for Lonesome River Band. Long time guitarist Brandon Rickman is leaving the group after almost two decades of touring and recording with the group. Current mandolinist, Jesse Smathers, will move over to guitar, with Adam Miller coming in to take that spot.

Miller is a newcomer to the world of touring bluegrass. Currently a student in the bluegrass program at East Tennessee State University, he has been performing in their Bluegrass Pride Band, a hand-picked ensemble selected and led by program director, Dan Boner. He was featured this past semester on their single, When The Water Goes Down, singing lead and playing mandolin.

Sammy saw the video, was quite impressed with young Mr. Miller, and contacted Dan to ask about him joining the group. Boner gave an immediate thumbs up,  and tells us that Adam is a natural singer who should be a perfect fit for LRB. He also shared from an engineer’s perspective that, “You don’t use autotune on Adam. He sings in tune, he sings with feeling, and the timbre of his voice is completely authentic. He doesn’t manufacture a vocal sound – he just sings with his real voice. It’s in his blood as a native of the Appalachian region of east Tennessee… a natural who has also worked to develop that talent to the best of his abilities.”

For his part, Miller is overjoyed for this opportunity.

“I’m thrilled to be joining such a great group of guys and musicians. I am still at a loss for words. I’ve listened to the band my entire life, and to even get the call from Sammy was a dream come true. I’m excited for what’s to come, and look forward to hitting the road!”

Have a listen in this video from earlier in the year…

Shelor also shared a statement this morning about the switch.

“Well, the past year has brought many changes in so many lives and affected the music industry in many ways. We thank the Lord above that we have weathered the storm and are back to touring in 2021 – but not without change.

Brandon Rickman, our lead singer, guitarist, front man, and songwriter, is leaving LRB after almost 18 years of highly professional service to the band since November 2001. I have enjoyed every minute of sharing the stage and recording with him. He has been instrumental in the song selection for those many years and we are sad to see an era come to an end. We wish him well in all future endeavors and time with his family. He will be missed.

Coming up in June, we will introduce Adam Miller from Erwin, TN to the band as our new singer and mandolin player. Adam is a student at East Tennessee State University and a member of their Bluegrass Pride Band, and is one of the brightest young talents I have heard in quite some time. His lead and harmony vocals are extraordinary for any age and I look forward to watching him develop in the years to come.

Jesse Smathers will now be on guitar for the band and singing great as he always does.

We are excited about a new era of Lonesome River Band and look forward to seeing all of our great friends and fans in the months to come.

God Bless You All!”

Adam is planning to finish his degree in surveying and mapping at ETSU while touring with the band, also pursuing a minor in Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music Studies.

You check the LRB tour schedule online to catch them near you sometime this year.

Share this:

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.