Birthed in the shadow of Dollywood at the tourist mecca that is Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery in Gatlinburg, Tenn., The Po' Ramblin' Boys play a spirited and aged brand of straight-ahead, Monroe-style bluegrass.
Driving a 1965 GM tour bus, the fast and furious five-person band (whose members hail from Kentucky, Missouri, North Dakota and Pennsylvania) isn't trying to reinvent the bluegrass wheel so much as bring back that rawhide edge of Monroe's original Saturday night and Sunday morning blend of bluegrass and gospel. The band did just that on The Po' Ramblin' Boys' first trip to Mountain Stage on March 24, 2019, with guest host Kathy Mattea.
Describing them as looking "like they could be Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys except for the tattoos and mandatory facial hair," Mattea called the 2018 International Bluegrass Music Association's emerging artist of the year, "authentic bluegrass at its best."
The Po' Ramblin' Boys (plus guest artist Laura Orshaw, a Boston-based fiddler and vocalist), proved Mattea right and fired off four straight bluegrass bangers: "Leaving This Town," "Old Richmond Prison," "Late Last Night" and "Longing for the Ozarks" with barely a breath in between.
Orshaw sprinkled some honky-tonk angel dust onto "Row Number Two, Seat Number Three," a song made famous by Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, the late, great Grand Ole Opry stars and 2008 inductees into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.
Freshly signed to Rounder Records, The Po' Ramblin' Boys shared some more songs from Toil, Tears & Trouble, the band's 2019 debut which was nominated for best bluegrass album at this year's Grammy Awards.
After a fresh take on the cinematic bluegrass gem "Ice Covered Birches," the band showcased their polished harmonies on Don Brown's "God's Love is So Divine" before banjoist Jereme Brown rolled the band home with its briskly-paced charting song, "Next Train South."
- "Leaving This Town"
- "Old Richmond Prison"
- "Late Last Night"
- "Longing for the Ozarks"
- "Row Number Two, Seat Number Three"
- "Old New Borrowed and Blue"
- "Ice Covered Birches"
- "God's Love Is So Divine"
- "Next Train South"
CJ Lewandowski: mandolin and vocals; Josh Rinkel: guitar and vocals; Jasper Lorentzen: bass and vocals; Jereme Brown: banjo and vocals; Laura Orshaw: fiddle and vocals.