Rounder Records

The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys broke onto the bluegrass scene with their first album in 2017, made a tremendous impact at IBMA’s World Of Bluegrass as a showcase band the same year, and won IBMA’s 2018 Emerging Artist Of The Year. Toil, Tears, and Trouble represents the third album for the band and their first album on Rounder Records.

Some people have compared the band to the Johnson Mountain Boys, and their youthful approach to traditional bluegrass supplemented by their own original material supports this comparison. But they definitely have their own unique sound. Mandolinist C.J. Lewandowski sings much of the lead vocals, and his vocal styling is somewhat reminiscent of Buck Owens. Josh Rinkel (guitar, lead, and harmony vocals) and Jereme Brown (banjo, lead, and harmony vocals) are strongly influenced by the Stanley Brothers. The combination of the three lead vocalists and harmony singers with contrasting styles provide nice variety in the sounds that the band achieves. Bass player Jasper Lorentzen provides a strong drive, much in the manner of Mike Paisley in his days with the Southern Grass. Laura Orshaw provides just the right fiddle kick-offs, breaks, and fills to suit each of the songs.

Results of the band going with Rounder include song selection influenced by Ken Irwin and recording engineering by ten-time Grammy winner Gary Paczosa. “Next Train South,” Josh Rinkel’s “Old New Borrowed And Blue,” “Widow Mae,” and the title-track are straight-ahead bluegrass numbers in the Stanley tradition. “Ice Covered Birches” and “Hickory, Walnut, And Pine” are 3/4-time songs, the latter about “changing times at the old homeplace” vein. The remaining songs include cover tunes that are deep catalog. Lovers of traditional bluegrass and honky-tonk should enjoy this Grammy-nominated album from this exciting young band. (Rounder Records, 1201 Demonbreun St., Nashville, TN 37203

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