For most of us in the bluegrass world, 2020 was more or less a non-event. Once the COVID restrictions shut down live music, very little seemed to happen, though artists continued to record with an eye towards better days. Performers had to put careers on hold, with many hunting for new ways to provide for themselves and their families.
But for The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, there was a great deal going on. When things closed up, they were riding high on the momentum from their debut album with Rounder Records, Toil, Tears, & Trouble, and making plans for a second project to release this year. Everywhere they played, people went crazy for their stylish presentation of 1950s-style bluegrass, and they were celebrating a Grammy Award nomination.
Then communication issues, possibly exacerbated by the pandemic constraints, arose between the band and the label, which eventually led to the Boys being released from their contract.
Mandolinist and vocalist C.J. Lewandowski tells us that there were difficulties coming to an agreement on marketing strategies, and in the end, the best answer was to go their own way.
“We left Rounder of our own accord, and we appreciate all they have done for us. It was a good run, but I think now is the time for us to spread our wings a bit with our own marketing and our own team. So we asked them to release us and they complied. Everyone is still friends, and we have great respect for what they accomplished.
Our management is talking to a half dozen other labels, now so we have a lot of options.”
All this was just finalized in late March.
The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys not only play fast, they move fast as well. Not even two weeks after being released by Rounder, they have a new single on offer. It’s a song written by guitarist Josh Rinkel, known in the band as Jug. Titled Missing Her Has Never Slowed Me Down, this driving grasser tells a familiar tale of being away from home, pining for a loved on left behind.
Jug explains how a setback on a band tour inspired the song.
“Missing Her Has Never Slowed Me Down came to be while we were on our way to Alberta, Canada for our very first tour as The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys. We were held up at the border…for reasons that I’d rather not disclose (like that Me and Paul reference??). After driving over 2,000 miles we were told to turn back and go home. We had to cancel the first show of the tour, it was a real mess.
Instead of starting the journey back home we went to the nearest hotel, which wasn’t really all that near, to try to iron out a plan to try the border again in the morning. I went to the hotel bar for a drink and to clear my head. At the time I was dating a girl in Gatlinburg, TN, and couldn’t help but think that I should just be there with her instead of out running the road. That’s when this song came to be.
I’ve always been drawn to the spirit and wide openness of the west, and couldn’t help but to include that in this song. I want to dedicate the song to all of the traveling people, hobos, and drifters that have contributed so much to Americana and American music.”
The track opens with twin fiddles from newest member, Laura Orshaw, who also sings high harmony, before Rinkel launches into the song.
Here’s a taste.
If you move fast yourself, you can get the new single at no cost. Through tonight, April 2, Missing Her Has Never Slowed Me Down is available as a free download from The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys web site. Radio programmers can get a copy from AirPlay Direct.
Along with C.J., Jug, and Laura, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys include banjo player and vocalist Jereme Brown, and bass player Jasper Lorentzen.
Lewandowski says that once a new label partner is in place, we can expect more music from The Boys.
“Our next album will be in the first quarter of 2022, with singles between now and then. There may even be an EP. A number of artists have contacted us about doing something with us, maybe a heroes project where we collaborate with others on some of out favorite classic material.”
Good news for fans of The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys.