Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers have been steadily winning accolades for their records and powerful live performances since banjoist, band leader and tenor vocalist Mullins returned with the band to active touring in 2008, a profession he had laid down more than a dozen years earlier.
In the 1990s, Joe had founded The Traditional Grass with his father, Paul “Moon” Mullins, and their several albums for Rebel Records cemented their status as one of the most compelling practitioners of traditional-style bluegrass of their day. Joe left the band when an opportunity arose for him to purchase a radio station in Xenia, OH in 1995, which he has turned into a multi-station business broadcasting “real” country and bluegrass as My Classic Country.
But the lure of the stage and studio never left him, and Mullins and his Ramblers have reached a status much like that of his prior outfit, excelling in the field of old school bluegrass and Gospel music.
Their third project for Rebel Records, They’re Playing My Song, is due October 16, with a debut single, Bottom Of A Mountain, going out to radio next week.
This Don McKinnon song was recorded by Johnny Cash in 1966, as the B side of Boa Constrictor, which just barely cracked the Top 40. It was only released in the US on a 45 RPM record at the time. Our own Daniel Mullins, Joe’s son, suggested the song to his dad, which Daniel reports he loved right away.
Bottom Of A Mountain: [http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegrasscast/bottom_of_a_mountain.mp3]
Other songs on the new album include several band originals, a new Gospel song from Becky Buller, their take on Steel Guitar Rag, and an Osborne Brothers tribute medley (Windy City, Makin’ Plans, Fair and Tender Ladies, Kentucky). They also cover Katy Daley, a Moon Mullins’ number memorably cut by Ralph Stanley in the mid-1970s, and later by Lonesome River Band.
The Radio Ramblers are Adam McIntosh on guitar, Tim Kidd on bass, Evan McGregor on fiddle and Mike Terry on mandolin (singing lead on the single).