We have covered the Po’ Ramblin’ Boys extensively since they first came to our attention in 2015. From the first moment, we saw the special spark in their music, and their sincere dedication to share their love for the hard-edged, hard-driving style of traditional bluegrass that they favor with the rest of the world.
They didn’t have superstar back stories, or time with big name acts on their resumes. Just a passion for the music and a knack for delivering it in the old time way. From their stage outfits to their song choices and their manner of presentation, these Boys made you feel like you had stepped through a portal in time to an earlier day in bluegrass.
At last year’s World Of Bluegrass convention in Raleigh, there was no showcase act that owned a room like they did on Thursday afternoon. Opening with a lesser-known Stanley Brothers classic, they brought a rapt audience along with them for a powerful 20 minute set.
And it appears that they impressed people far more consequential that your humble reporter. It has been announced today that the band has signed agreements with Rounder Records, Rainmaker Management, and Crossover Touring going forward. All three companies represent only top entertainers in niche markets, with a record of success in bringing them to their full potential that has few peers.
Nashville-based Rounder Records has been the home of some of the most celebrated artists in and around bluegrass. J.D. Crowe & The New South, Tony Rice, Blue Highway, The Gibson Brothers, and Alison Krauss & Union Station have all been or are Rounder acts. Likewise, Rainmaker, and their newest artist manager, Mike Drudge, have guided careers for a very long list of prominent grassers, Del McCoury and Sierra Hull among them.
Crossover Touring is an Atlanta agency that books bluegrass artists like Del McCoury, Billy Strings, Bryan Sutton, Hot Rize, The Gibson Brothers, and the Jeff Austin Band, along with Americana groups and solo acts with “crossover” appeal. No doubt they can get the Boys in front of audiences that will never see them coming.
Po’ Ramblin’ mandolinist C.J. Lewandowski says that announcing all this together feels like a fantasy.
“The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys and myself couldn’t ask for a better team than what has developed within the past few months. The combination of Rainmaker, Crossover, and Rounder is a powerful pact and we really look forward to where this will propel the band into the future of bluegrass and American roots music. We try our best to represent our style of bluegrass in the most authentic way possible. Thanks to Graham Talent Group and Randm Records for believing in us from the start and supporting The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys in this next chapter of our musical story. We look forward to what’s ahead and are honored to be on the same rosters as some of our heroes. It truly is a dream come true.”
The band is completed by Jereme Brown on banjo, Josh Rinkel on guitar, and Jasper Lorentzen on bass. Each contributes mightily to the band’s sound and stage vibe. C.J., Josh, and Jereme all three sing lead in the show, offering them a wide range of styles. Their sets include new original material and classics from the early days of bluegrass, as you can see in this set from the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old Time Music Festival that aired on Pioneer Public Television earlier this year.
Ken Irwin, Rounder co-founder says that seeing them in Raleigh last summer made a lasting impression.
“Watching The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys play for the first time at IBMA brought a big smile to my face. It’s been that way ever since. These guys love traditional bluegrass and know how to do it right with the same spirit, drive, heart and enthusiasm of the first generation bands. We’re very excited to be working with them and look forward to helping spread their love of the music to new generations of bluegrass fans.”
Well done, Boys! We always knew there were big things in store for you.