Lonesome River Band

Few bluegrass groups have been around for forty years, and even fewer have been more popular, more widely admired or more influential for as long as Mountain Home Music Company recording artists, Lonesome River Band. By the early 1990s, they were winning key awards and topping the charts, and while members have come and gone, the quintet’s reputation for crafting essential, archetypal bluegrass has only grown with each passing year.  

“One of the biggest joys in my life is playing music with friends,” says Jesse Smathers. “I have always had a goal to capture that joy and excitement that comes from a circle with five or six musicians.” Music has always been an important part of Smathers’ life - his grandfather, Harold Smathers, and granduncle Luke Smathers, received a North Carolina Heritage Award in 1993 for their contributions to North Carolina folk music. 

Lonesome River Band introduced two new members with their latest single, "Mary Ann Is A Pistol," which underlines both the durability and the freshness of the group’s unique approach and fabled history. Now, that song has claimed the No. 1 spot on Bluegrass Today's Monthly airplay chart, which serves as further proof that Lonesome River Band is still at the top of its game.

As they head toward a remarkable 40th anniversary of their founding, bluegrass’s Lonesome River Band have chosen not only to welcome in the new year with new music, but to introduce two new members with a new single that underlines both the durability and the freshness of the group’s unique approach and fabled history.

Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Jesse Smathers announces his first single, ahead of his debut solo album releasing in early 2022. “Nothing in the World to Do” releases to streaming and radio on November 12th, and features an all-star cast of supporting musicians.

As the legendary Lonesome River Band heads toward its 40th anniversary, the band is paying homage to another great musical legacy with a full-length tribute by one working band honoring another working band from days gone by. Singing Up There: A Tribute to the Easter Brothers is out now from Mountain Home Music Company.

Bluegrass songs about bluegrass seem to be turning up everywhere these days, but while there are plenty of single songs name-checking the music’s pioneers and all-star collaborative albums honoring generational legacies, a full-length tribute by one working band honoring another working band from days gone by is still a rarity.

Though they’re acclaimed as masters of contemporary bluegrass, the Lonesome River Band issue a reminder of their long-standing appreciation for old-time string band music with a new Mountain Home Music Company single, “Cumberland River Shore.” And though it’s not about him, the song, from its writing to recording, is suffused with the spirit and sound of the late and legendary John Hartford.

The latest single from Bluegrass at the Crossroads, the innovative collaborative project featuring artists drawn mostly from the rosters of Mountain Home Music Company and Organic Records, presents the series’ second ensemble, first heard on the January bluegrass gospel release, “Lift Your Voice, Bow Your Head.” Serving as a musical meeting ground for musicians working in a broad range of bluegrass styles, “On The Lonesome Breeze” showcases rich creativity, deep skills — and a lot of musical muscle, too.

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