Lonesome River Band’s ‘Mary Ann is a Pistol’ Hits No. 1 on Bluegrass Today Chart

April 6, 2022

Lonesome River Band, bluegrass, Americana, folk, Mountain Home Music Company, Syntax Creative - imageLonesome 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.

“We are so happy and thankful that radio and our dear fans like this song,” says bandleader and award-winning banjo player Sammy Shelor. “It’s a fun, feel-good song that we think everyone needs to hear these days. Many thanks to the fans and DJs for getting behind the song and supporting us for the past 40 years!”

Sung by new mandolinist Adam Miller, “Mary Ann is a Pistol” is a sly subversion of stereotypes first recorded over a quarter of a century ago and reclaimed from Shelor’s record collection. Written by long-time Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Dennis Linde, who penned the jovially transgressive Chicks hit, “Goodbye Earl,” it’s an extended appreciation of a woman who’s “been a tomboy since she could walk,” shows no interest in turning more conventional, and still earns the unstinting admiration of its country boy narrator. For Shelor, it was a natural partner to a song that’s been in the LRB’s set lists for even longer than this one’s been around.

“The LRB has been doing the Jimmy Martin classic, ‘Mary Ann,’ since around 1985,” he notes. “And it’s been a mainstay in our live shows ever since. Last year, I was digging through a bunch of cassettes I had from the 80s and 90s—I still love the sound of them—and ran across one of my favorite records ever by Brother Phelps (check them out if you haven’t heard these albums), recorded in 1995. They did a rocking version of this Dennis Linde song, and the more I listened to it, the more it became a Bluegrass song in my head and a perfect song to follow the Jimmy Martin ‘Mary Ann.’ We hope you enjoy our version of ‘Mary Ann is a Pistol’!”

The first single to feature Miller, who joined the group straight out of East Tennessee State University’s high-powered Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies program, “Mary Ann is a Pistol” wisely puts its spotlight on the song’s good-natured lyric and a head-bobbing groove, underpinned by guitarist Jesse Smathers and new bassist Kameron Keller and moved along by Shelor’s hypnotic banjo roll and Mike Hartgrove’s supple fiddling.