New look for The Radio Ramblers – Terry out, Parker in

Big news this morning from Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers. Founding member, Mike Terry, has decided to leave the group after 14 years, and veteran bluegrass entertainer Jeff Parker has agreed to step in playing mandolin and sharing vocal duties.

For Mike, the cancellation of touring this year has caused him to re-evaluate his life and career. Prior to joining up with Joe, Terry had a successful HVAC and plumbing business, to which he is returning now that building and construction are recovering from the shutdowns.

But he says it will be hard to leave the music behind.

“It’s been a lot of fun to play good music with good friends traveling many miles together. Thanks to Joe, Adam, Jason, and Randy for all the good times. I have met so many wonderful people playing music, and it felt like a family everywhere we went. That, I will miss! But it’s time for me to stay home and be with my family. My construction business is keeping me plenty busy, and I have two beautiful grandchildren now.

Lastly, I would like to thank my wife, Theresa, for all the years of supporting our music, holding down the holler while I was gone and being a loving, patient woman. I’m thankful to all our friends and music family.”

Mullins says that losing Mike after so long brings a tinge of sadness.

“It’s a very bittersweet time for our band. Mike has always been here through everything the band has created and accomplished. His vocal ability was so important in arranging so many of our favorite songs. And, he never forgot about the ‘fun factor’ when we hit the stage, the studio, or the record table! He is loved by our loyal followers and will be missed.”

But they could not have hoped for a better man than Jeff Parker too take Mike’s spot. One of the most dynamic performers in bluegrass, Parker had just recently dissolved his partnership with Colin Ray, and abandoned his plans to focus on being a bandleader, so the timing was perfect to become a Radio Rambler.

His singing style with be a perfect complement to Joe’s soaring tenor, and his vivacious stage personality can’t help but offer some lively moments on the band’s shows.

And Mullins says that it is a tremendous asset to bring in someone as talented as Parker to the group.

“I’ve been a Jeff Parker fan for a long time. His work with the Lonesome River Band really captured my attention, and then the whole world fell in love with ‘Parker’ during his 12 years with Dailey & Vincent. In my radio programming, I’ve consistently featured many songs from Jeff’s great solo albums, too.”

For Parker, everything has fallen right into place.

“I’m excited to have been asked to join Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers. The offer came at just the right time for me, and I’m looking forward to creating music with one of the best bands in the business. The fun has already begun!”

Radio Ramblers fans can expect to continue to hear the same traditional bluegrass and Gospel sound that has been a trademark since 2006, along with a dash of Jeff’s music and comedy on stage. They played their first show together last weekend in Sparta, TN, and delivered a vocal performance that had to be experienced to be believed.

Everyone is sorry to see Mike Terry depart, but be assured that Parker will ably fill the void.

Joe and the boys will be heading into the studio soon to start work on a new Gospel project for Billy Blue Records. Look for that next year.

And Joe is working on details for the March 2021 Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival. Their November event this year had to be cancelled, but plans are in place to host the spring festival in person March 25-27 in Wilmington, OH.

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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.