Currently in their thirtieth performing year, the Lonesome River Band has maintained their own sound even while having endured many member changes. With the release of their second of three Chronology albums, which feature both new material and re-recorded standards from their repertoire, the current lineup of the Lonesome River Band has provided fans with a look into LRB’s past as well as its future.
Chronology, Volume 2 features eight songs – seven drawn from previous albums and one new track, the lead single Barely Beat the Daylight In, which was written by guitarist Brandon Rickman. For this record, the band found their inspiration in the albums Old Country Town, One Step Forward, Finding The Way, and Talkin’ to Myself, all released in the band’s second decade.
Rickman and mandolinist Randy Jones share vocal duties, with each taking the lead on four tracks. The songs stay faithful to the original recordings for the most part, filled with the Lonesome River Band’s signature mix of contemporary and traditional bluegrass. The album has a nice balance between slower songs like the modern-day murder ballad Perfume, Powder, and Lead (with strong, matter-of-fact lead vocals from Rickman) and more upbeat tunes such as Sweet Sally Brown. Barely Beat the Daylight In, the cheerful tale of a man who hates saying goodbye at the end of the night, is a nice addition to the album, with a sound that could have come from a classic 1990s LRB record.
True to form, the instrumentation on this album is excellent. The energy behind each song is evident. Sammy Shelor’s banjo is a solid presence behind the songs, but he also lets loose on a few tunes, such as the driving Ralph Stanley and Curly Ray Cline composition Dog Gone Shame. Band members Rickman, Jones, Shelor, Mike Hartgrove (fiddle), and Barry Reed (bass) have not only studied the techniques of band members who came before them, but are extremely talented musicians in their own right and have put their own stamp on the older tunes.
The songs recorded on this album are tunes which a large portion of the newest generation of bluegrassers have grown up hearing and imitating. This example is perhaps best shown through LRB’s bus driver, Kevin Love. In a recent interview, he explained how fortunate he felt having the opportunity to work with his childhood heroes. With the Chronology trio of album, the Lonesome River Band proves that they are modern legends.
For more information on the band, please visit their website at lonesomeriverband.com.
Chronology, Volume 2 can be purchased from the website, Amazon, iTunes, and other music outlets, while Volume 3 is now available for pre-sale on LRB’s website.