38 Years Of Bluegrass Excellence

The Lonesome River Band is one of the bluegrass industry’s long standing pillars. Formed in early 1982, and heading into it’s 38th year as a band, it has seen its share of personal changes over the years, but the bands unmistakable, distinctive sound remains true to form.

“It’s been through a lot of changes over the years,” said Sammy Shelor, band leader and banjo player for the band. “But it’s settled into a really good personnel format now. I’ve had the same band for five years – and two of the members have been with us almost 20 years.”

Sammy joined the band in 1990 at a pivotal point in its definitive years. “The band had released three or four albums by the time I joined,” Sammy commented. About the same time Sammy joined, so did noted bluegrass musicians, Dan Tyminski and Ronnie Bowman.

“In 1990, we went in to record an album that was the most traditional sounding album that we were capable of doing,” Sammy noted. “That was our goal, and in doing that, we ended up hitting on a sound that nobody had ever really done before. It caught hold, and that’s what’s kept me out here doing this for the last 30 years.”

The band has earned numerous nominations and awards through the years including a 2012 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Award for Instrumental Recorded Event of the Year for their song “Angeline the Baker” from their Chronology Volume One album. Sammy received his fifth win as the IBMA Banjo Performer of the Year in 2012. The group has also received other awards from IBMA including Album of the Year, along with numerous SPBGMA awards, including Bluegrass Band of Year. In 2011 Sammy won the Annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.

The Lonesome River Band plans to release two new albums this year – One, a gospel album, which is a tribute to a band called the Easter Brothers – The other will be a new collection of bluegrass songs.

To find out more, visit