The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys announce new album, 'Wanderers Like Me' out August 16th on Smithsonian Folkways

Article Contributed by Shore Fire Media | Published on Sunday, June 23, 2024

On August 16th, 2024, GRAMMY-nominated East Tennessee bluegrass group The Po’ Ramblin Boys will release their next album, Wanderers Like Me on Smithsonian Folkways. A look back at the band’s ten years since they formed as a house band in Tennessee, and the struggles and triumphs that have come since, the album is their first-ever made with an outside producer, Woody Platt, and features more original work than any of their albums to date. Over their decade-long-rise, the band has achieved recognition from the International Bluegrass Music Association (“New Artist of the Year,” 2018) to the Recording Academy, which nominated them for “Best Bluegrass Album” in 2019. But through it all, they’ve stayed a true “working band,” always searching for the next gig, next big break, and next story to capture through song - Wanderers Like Me puts a microscope on what it’s like to go through the highs and lows of life when home is the road. Blending bluegrass with touches of honky-tonk, rebellion, and trad stylings, the group’s second for Smithsonian Folkways is their most polished and fleshed-out yet, and stands as a testament to the unwavering dedication and deep friendships forged through shared loss and shared success.

Listen to the title track “Wanderers Like Me” HERE to get a sense of the album’s refined bluegrass sound.

Pre-order the album HERE

Originally formed ten years ago as the nightly entertainment house band at the Ole Smoky Distillery bottle shop in Gatlinburg, TN, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys was created when founder/mandolinist C.J. Lewandowski called on friends and fellow local pickers Josh Rinkel (guitar) and Jereme Brown (banjo), and soon Jasper Lorentzen (bass) to get in on the act. In what seemed like no time at all, the group began to tour heavily and earn nationwide recognition, accolades, and spots at mainstream festivals like DelFest in Maryland, where Rolling Stone was struck by the band, “This quartet isn’t playing ‘bluegrass house.’ It’s the real deal, and it’s damn good — the kind of bluegrass that throws a little rocket fuel onto the next generation of this fiery mountain music.”  

The ten tracks on Wanderers Like Me reflect the experiences gained over the group’s decade together, and the realities of a hard-touring, hard-working band constantly playing and traveling across the country. Despite their countless achievements and long career, the band’s members continue to balance side jobs to sustain their passion for music and supplement income when not touring, doing everything from making fur hats to driving dump trucks, mowing lawns, and plowing snow in the winter. Songs like “Trying To Live The Dream” and “It’s Not A Perfect World” hone in on the obstacles the band came to terms with when committing to this way of life. “Sometimes it hurts to do what we do for a living,” guitarist and key songwriter Josh Rinkel says. “There’s a lot of sacrifices, but satisfaction comes all the same.”

True to its title, the album deals with what it’s like to face loss and the great unknown as “wanderers” reliant on each other, and the powers of nature and music. During the writing of the album the group mourned the loss of several close friends and their own personal issues. In 2022, Josh faced a life-changing illness that led to a reality check for himself and the rest of the band. In 2023, close friend of the band Bobby Osborne (of The Osborne Brothers) died - his song “The Condition of Samuel Wilder’s Will,” which tells a story about grieving the loss of a friend, is covered on the album. Through it all, the band realized that what they were doing was only truly great because they had been doing it together. The songwriting on Wanderers Like Me reflects an outlook change for the band and what it was they have been striving for all along: musical harmony with people they love.

And beyond making a record that highlights their decade of growth personally and together, the band also aimed to have the new album reflect their musical accomplishments and evolution. To help take their music to the next level, Wanderers Like Me was recorded at Van Atkins' Shop Studio in Candler, NC with producer Woody Platt, after the band had self-produced all their previous releases. “It ended up being one of the best choices we’ve ever made,” the band recalls. “Our main objective of this album was to do something more ‘us’ than ever before and we couldn’t have accomplished that without his insight.”

“We aren’t a Traditional Bluegrass band. We aren’t a Progressive Bluegrass band. We are, simply, us.” C.J. Lewandowski continues. “We love so much something that comes with a lot of sacrifice but we choose to play music because it’s in our blood. Not all folks are cut out for traveling the highways but most people in our position wouldn’t have it any other way.”

This Summer, the band will be crisscrossing the country on a tour that will include appearances at Nashville’s Station Inn and a ton of major festivals, including their first-ever performance at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival on June 21st alongside notable acts like Madison Cunningham and Billy Strings.

About Smithsonian Folkways

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the "National Museum of Sound," makes available close to 60,000 tracks in physical and digital format as the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian, with a reach of 80 million people per year. A division of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the non-profit label is dedicated to supporting cultural diversity and increased understanding among people through the documentation, preservation, production and dissemination of sound. Its mission is the legacy of Moses Asch, who founded Folkways Records in 1948 to document "people's music" from around the world. For more information about Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, visit

For more information on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Follow Smithsonian Folkways:

Official website: