Lonesome River Band, Balsam Range have fun with tradition at Jefferson Center

Read the entire review at The Roanoke Times


The way Lonesome River Band sees it, bluegrass is the last form of “true” country music, guitarist and singer Brandon Rickman told a Jefferson Center audience on Friday night.

To uphold the tradition, the band devoted 95 percent of its sets to songs about women, “whether we’re loving ’em, hating ’em or trying to kill ’em,” Rickman said. “And in true traditional form, we save about five percent of our songs for moonshine and Jesus, not necessarily in that order.”

He didn’t mention what percentage would be devoted to Dire Straits, but in the least traditional move of the night for Lonesome River Band, it played a near-psychedelic version of that English rock band’s “Calling Elvis.” That number, fueled by world-class banjo man Sammy Shelor’s five-string excursions, mixed just fine with nearly 75-minutes of traditional sounding, upbeat originals and a couple of choice covers — including a Merle Haggard song that prefigured the relationship term “cuffing.” But we’ll get to that.