One of the busiest bands in bluegrass, Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers have consistently delivered chart-topping and crowd-pleasing music, as evidenced by multiple IBMA awards and Grand Ole Opry appearances on their resume.
Rebel Records has just announced the release of the award-winning band’s sixth recording in seven years, The Story We Tell (REB-1869). This new album brings together a vibrant collection of songs new and old, celebrating the band’s respect for the past while always maintaining a fresh approach.
We gathered a very diverse set of songs, heavy on new material from great writers, allowing us to tell several types of stories—tales of fun, family, fiddlers, faith, felons and one funeral… real bluegrass – Joe Mullins.
Joe Mullins features with bluegrass veterans Jason Barie on fiddle, Randy Barnes on bass, Duane Sparks on guitar and Mike Terry on mandolin. The Story We Tell features the band’s most inventive and innovative arrangements to date, both vocally and instrumentally on 12 tracks. The album’s opening number and first single, Long Gone Out West Blues takes listeners on a trip on horseback through the Wild West. This high-energy song—which has maintained a strong presence on Bluegrass Today’s Top 20 Songs Chart for four consecutive weeks now – came to JMRR via Canadian folk duo, Pharis & Jason Romero. “The uniquely styled lyrics and the melody made it a natural for us, and the challenge of a song with no chorus is something I love,” says Mullins.
The Story We Tell is chock full of original songs from some of today’s top songwriters. One of the final compositions from the late Gerald Evans Jr. is a celebration of what makes our favorite songs so meaningful; Songs That’ll Get ‘Em touches on such themes as the warmth of home, the comfort of a mother and the preciousness of true love. Nashville stalwart Larry Cordle penned the rollicking If I’d Have Wrote That Song, an ironic connection, considering that so many have wondered the same thought after hearing Cordle’s hits for Ricky Skaggs, Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson & George Strait, among others. In the Short Rows Now from Raleigh Satterwhite hearkens to the days of calloused hands and blistering heat, the hard work invested in the fields and in life and the determination making it through some way, somehow. Jerry Salley, who penned last year’s award-winning Radio Ramblers hit All Dressed Up, and Ronnie Bowman contributed the album’s lone gospel selection, When God’s in It, a powerful ode to Philippians 4:13 — “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Mullins and company also dug deep into the well of roots music on this new album. From a lonesome brother duet from the Delmore Brothers The Last Old Shovel, a heartfelt country ballad borrowed from Merle Haggard’s historic Mama Tried album I Could Have Gone Right, and a soaring vocal number the band learned from The Browns “Would You Care, The Radio Ramblers showcase variety and virtuosity on The Story We Tell.
With an approach to the music that rings with authenticity, Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers secure a rightful place among the traditional guard of bluegrass while standing comfortably shoulder to shoulder with more progressive-type artists who find themselves drawn, not only to this music, but also to their down-home, likeable nature.
Joe and his superb band with its diverse strengths and multiple lead vocalists have patiently carved out a special place in the national scene. They’ve won some awards that you can look up, though fewer than they deserve and fewer than they will over time. What matters more is that Joe’s steady contributions and excellent performances are accumulating, year in and out – Craig Havighurst, liner notes to The Story We Tell.
The Story We Tell is available at County Sales, iTunes, Amazon or wherever fine bluegrass music is sold.
|1. Long Gone Out West Blues
2. The Last Old Shovel
3. Songs That Will Get ‘Em
4. I Could Have Gone Right
|5. If I’d Have Wrote That Song
7. I Heard That Train
8. In the Short Rows Now
| 9. I’m Nowhere Bound
10. Would You Care
11. The Fiddle Man’s Delight
12. When God’s in It