Trailblazing Bluegrass Stars

Article Published: Oct. 13, 2011 | Modified: Oct. 21, 2011
Trailblazing Bluegrass Stars

For the past three decades, the Lonesome River Band has been creating a signature sound in modern bluegrass.

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When the International Bluegrass Musicians Association (IBMA) held its annual awards ceremony in Nashville earlier this month, it was no surprise to anyone when Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers won Entertainers of the Year.

After all, the banjo-playing comedian and bluegrass musician and his young bandmates from Asheville have been packing live music halls and festivals for the past two years.

What might have come as a surprise, however, was that Sammy Shelor, the banjo player for the Lonesome River Band, won the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Bluegrass and Banjo Award. In fact, the Lonesome River Band was nominated for five other IBMA awards this year.

The Lonesome River Band will perform at the Hayes Performing Arts Center in Blowing Rock on Friday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the show are on sale now.

The Lonesome River Band features Shelor on banjo, Brandon Rickman on lead vocals and guitar, Mike Hartgrove on fiddle, Barry Reed on upright acoustic bass and Randy Jones on mandolin and vocals.

Rural Rhythm Records released the band’s current album in June 2010, titled “Still Learning.” The album has hit numerous album charts, including Bluegrass Unlimited’s Top 15, Bluegrass Music Profiles (BMP) Top 10, Cashbox Magazine’s Top 20, plus many more.

During this month’s IBMA Awards ceremony, the Lonesome River Band was nominated in the categories of Best Banjo Performance of the Year (Sammy Shelor), Instrumental Performance of the Year, Instrument Recording of the Year, Album of the Year for “The All-Star Jam: Live at Graves Mountain” and Recorded Event of the Year.


Tickets for the Lonesome River Band’s Oct. 21 show at the Hayes Center in Blowing Rock are $25 and $30. For more information, or to order tickets, call (828) 295-9627.

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