~ Marty Raybon ~

"One of the most solid hard hitting bluegrass bands to be formed in the last 10 years.  Jeff Brown and Still Lonesome brings the sounds of yesterday to life again.  From top  to bottom,  Jeff leads the band like a Field General through a set list of some of the best music on the circuit today." 

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Jeff Brown brings holiday cheer to shut ins Posted on November 20, 2018 By John Lawless At some point during this holiday season, as most of us are making preparations to spend time with family and friends, there is usually something that causes us to stop for a moment and remember the many people who won’t be able to do so this year. Perhaps they are deployed with the military far from home, or unable to make the trip for any number of reasons, including distance or finances. But especially this time of year, our thanks go out to those who bring them some holiday cheer. There is no more devoted disciple of the Stanley Brothers than Jeff Brown, who with his band Still Lonesome, performs traditional mountain bluegrass from his base in southwestern Virginia. And one thing you would always hear on the old Stanley Brothers radio shows, was a number dedicated to their “sick and shut in friends,” usually a Gospel number, or a song of consolation for those in distress. Jeff has taken that message to heart this year with a special concert he gave for the residents of a nursing home near where he lives. Working in conjunction with Star 95 Radio in Princeton, WV, Jeff and Still Lonesome performed at the home’s Thanksgiving celebration, and presented edible treats and gift bags to all the residents put together by the station and their morning host, The Madman. Brown tells us that he was honored to be asked to take some time out of his day to share with such fine people, and brighten up their weekend. “We often don’t think how blessed we really are, and to think that we can give these folks a little joy from our music is a blessing indeed.” Everyone enjoyed their special treat, and Jeff said he was heartened by how many folks sang along on the spiritual songs. Well done JB & SL! ” - John Lawless

— Bluegrass Today

Jeff Brown opens up about his Crohn’s disease Posted on September 1, 2017 By John Lawless Jeff Brown on stage – photo © 2017 by Mike Duncan Jeff Brown has made quite a name for himself on the traditional side of the bluegrass ledger in recent years. After several years touring with Larry Sparks in the ’90s, followed by time with The Charlie Sizemore Band, Brown has been building a career as a bluegrass singer and bandleader, now touring with his own group, Jeff Brown & Still Lonesome.   And lonesome is the exact right word to describe his music. Deeply rooted in the Stanley sound of the Virginia mountains, Jeff sings the sad and tragic songs of Appalachian life where even tales of happiness and joy have mournful overtones. His two albums with Still Lonesome have earned critical acclaim as well as requests for live performances across the US.   But behind the lonesome facade has been a real difficulty that he has borne this past twenty years. Jeff is a Crohn’s disease sufferer, a frustratingly chronic inflammatory bowel disease whose symptoms include serious abdominal pain, and a variety of other unpleasant effects that can be crippling when they flare up. It is believed to be an immune disorder at its root, where the body essentially attacks the gastrointestinal system from inside. Somewhat rare in the western world, it afflicts less than .5% of the population, and though effective treatment is available, it is not curable, nor is treatment certain to relieve all symptoms.   Jeff has decided to talk about his struggle with Crohn’s as the disease has been causing him trouble of late. His followers on Facebook will have noticed updates indicating that he had traveled to visit a specialist in Richmond and that he had been hospitalized for testing.   When we spoke yesterday, he was clearly relieved that the tests had ruled out his worst fears, and that new treatments were being considered. But he wanted to share more about his journey with this disease, one that many people know very little about, especially the debilitating impact it can have on personal freedom.   It all started for Jeff around 1998 when he began experiencing unexplained symptoms that were getting worse very quickly. After almost two dozen doctors visits and a lot of trial and error, he met with Dr. Stephen Bickston at UVA Hospital who diagnosed the Crohn’s, and that he had become severely malnourished. He was sent home with a nasogastric feeding tube and for the entirety of the year 2000 he ate no food whatsoever, relying on tube feedings for all his nourishment.   If you had followed southwestern Virginia bluegrass closely, you may remember that Brown disappeared from the scene for a while after working with Charlie Sizemore, and this was the reason why, something he has not publicly addressed before. During this time Jeff underwent multiple surgeries, during which his colon was removed making him an ileostomy patient. He received several Remicade infusions and has been on many different types of drugs.   His case is sufficiently severe that it has been presented as a case study by UVA. Not exactly how one wants to be remembered!   But over the years, through careful maintenance and a variety of drug treatments being found, Jeff is able to live a largely normal life, and travel comfortably on the road. Until a successful treatment regimen is found, Crohn’s patients often feel homebound, uncertain of when the next attack may arise. But this summer, symptoms began to return and he said that old fear resurfaced.   “I’ve been having some problems this past 7-8 months. I’d been nosediving, and the treatments weren’t helping so much.  Dr. Bickston, now at VCU in Richmond, ordered an MRI which showed a thickening of my stomach walls. He scoped me to rule out cancer. I got that result today and it’s all benign – so good so far. We are now investigating treatments that might help me feel better. At this point, I can’t remember what it’s like to feel good. Mine is a real tough case. They’re always having to adjust my treatment. This last few months have been scary, but I have confidence that it will be getting better now. The long and short of it is that it’s a hard struggle daily, but I’m thankful, and resilient to continue to fight and hopefully some day see a cure.”   We also spoke about some photographs we ran recently of Jeff and the band playing at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival earlier this month. He remarked that he was glad they couldn’t show how poorly he felt that weekend. “I felt miserable, and probably shouldn’t have been there. But over the years I guess I’ve learned to be a pretty good actor.”   To us it shows that Jeff Brown is a real trooper. And that he’s earned the right to sing sad and lonesome songs. Fans can expect him to continue to be there, playing that mountain style music, no matter how he feels.   A pat on the back wouldn’t be a bad idea the next time you see him. ” - John Lawless

— Bluegrass Today

  I want to  thank Mitch for his hard work  during his  tenure with the band and also his professionalism both on and off of the stage.  He is a great musician and singer but  his biggest attribute is  his willingness to always so the extra mile.  Congratulations Mitch on your  new venture." Thanks! ~ Jeff Brown~”

— Mitch Walker to Junior Sisk

Soul Of A Mountain Man from Jeff Brown Posted on January 23, 2017 By John Lawless Jeff Brown & Still Lonesome have released a second single from their current project, A Distant Horizon. It’s The Soul Of A Mountain Man, written by Brown and Mike Bentley. This bluesy number with a familiar bluegrass message kicks off with silky banjo from Mitch Walker, and tells the story of the mountain life that, despite its difficulties and trials, holds the people fast to the land and the culture where they were born.    The single is available to radio programmers at Airplay Direct, and A Distant Horizon is offered wherever you purchase bluegrass music. ” - John Lawless

Bluegrass Today

As 2016 comes to a close, it’s time to look back over all of the music that has been released over the past year. From big name stars on major labels to regional bands just starting out, from straightforward fifties-style traditional grass to “acousticana,” folk-flavored music, it’s all come through the Bluegrass Today headquarters for listen and review. Out of everything I’ve heard this year, here are my picks for the Best Bluegrass of 2016 (in no particular order). Original Traditional – Blue HighwayThe title says it all – Blue Highway made it a point to write original songs that sound as if they might have been originally performed years ago. While the group is always solid, this was (in my opinion), their best album in recent years, hearkening back to the nineties and songs like Lonesome Pine, In the Gravel Yard, and the like. In addition, fans who were worried about replacing Rob Ickes need not fret; Gaven Largent proves himself a top up-and-coming talent here.Listen to: Wilkes County Clay, Top of the Ridge, If Lonesome Don’t Kill Me Croweology – Rickey WassonIf you know me, you know there are few musicians I respect more than J.D. Crowe. He and his early bands set the tone for so much of today’s bluegrass – Rounder 0044, anyone? Rickey Wasson, Crowe’s longtime lead singer, takes a number of his favorite New South songs and gives them just slight updates here, calling on fellow Crowe fans like Mo Pitney, Adam Steffey, and Ron Stewart (whose ability to play like Crowe is truly amazing) to help him. This is essential listening for any fan of J.D. Crowe or modern traditional bluegrass in general.Listen to: You Can Have Her, God’s Own Singer, You Can Share My Blanket Poor Boy’s Pleasure – Junior Sisk & Ramblers ChoiceIf you want straight-up, drive-filled, lonesome bluegrass, look no further than Sisk and his excellent band. His latest album – and his first for Mountain Fever Records – checks off all the classic bluegrass themes: country living, drinking, heartbreak, and loving the Lord. The pickers are in top form throughout and Sisk fills the album with plenty of his Stanley-influenced vocals. Lead single Longneck Blues, a duet with Ronnie Bowman, even picked up Recorded Event of the Year at the 2016 IBMA Awards.Listen to: Cold in Carolina, Jimmy, JD, and Paul, Hang a Wreath Sacred Memories – Joe Mullins & the Radio RamblersAnother stalwart for traditional bluegrass is Ohio’s Joe Mullins, with his entertaining stage shows, high lonesome vocals, and well-chosen songs. Sacred Memories was a fine Gospel album, led by popular single and IBMA Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year All Dressed Up, a touching number that finds a farmer ready to enter heaven. With a few covers of old favorites and a few newer songs, I agree with David Morris that it “could end up as one of the best bluegrass CDs of 2016, Gospel or otherwise.”Listen to: All Dressed Up, When the Sun of Life Goes Down, Sacred Memories Modern Day Man – Josh WilliamsDid I mention that I love J.D. Crowe? His influence (and that of New South lead singer Keith Whitley) is evident throughout this project, which he produced. The album included several new recordings of Williams’ fan favorites, some country covers, and (I’m sure to the dismay of a few traditionalists) drums throughout. Williams has a voice well-suited to both country and modern traditional bluegrass, and he shows it off well here. I’m already looking forward to another solo album from him.Listen to: Modern Day Man, Prodigal Son, Mordecai Bridging the Tradition – Lonesome River BandTwenty-five years ago, LRB released Carrying the Tradition, an album that has probably influenced more of today’s young pickers than almost any other. This year, they brought some of that classic sound back with Bridging the Tradition, a great album that combined modern traditional and country sounds. New member Jesse Smathers proved that he fits in quite well with the group, offering strong lead vocals on several songs.Listen to: Thunder and Lightning, Old Swinging Bridge, Rock Bottom Dave Adkins – Dave AdkinsThe man with the big heart and bigger voice released his second solo album this year, much to the delight of fans of his soulful vocals. He relied on some great songwriters this time around, pulling from the likes of Dawn Kenney, David Morris, Ray Edwards, Larry Cordle, and others. Several of the songs have found radio success, including recent truck-driving hit Turn and Burn. He’s another artist that has a bit of a country tinge to his music, and I’m a big fan of the sound.Listen to: Fool-o-sophy, A Whole Lot More to Tell, It’s Not Over (Till I Get Over You) Drifter – Volume FiveAs good as Volume Five is, you’d expect them to be a bigger name in bluegrass. Somehow, they seem to fly under the radar while continually putting out tracks that tell great stories. I particularly enjoy how they reach deep into the bluegrass catalog, pulling out awesome songs that most listeners had probably forgotten. Lead vocalist and fiddler Glenn Harrell is also, simply put, one of the best male vocalists in bluegrass right now. They’ve had a few big radio hits from this album, and I’m looking forward to the day they rack up a few IBMA awards.Listen to: Alaskan Gold, Tall Pines, Ranching Man Right Beside You – Jeff WhiteIt’s awesome to hear a solo bluegrass album from Jeff White, who has spent quite a bit of time in the country world as of late. And what a mix of neat pre-bluegrass songs, classic grass, and more recent numbers! I was probably more excited than I should have been when I heard Run Little Rabbit Run on Sirius/XM radio for the first time earlier this year. Anyone who likes Stringbean is tops in my book.Listen to: Run Little Rabbit Run, Wise County Jail, Blue Trail of Sorrow Rattle & Roar – The Earls of LeicesterDoes this one even need an explanation? They’re the Entertainers of the Year. They’ve recreated one of the best sounds in the history of bluegrass music. They are some of the best musicians to be found in any genre of music. Over the past several years, the Earls have taken the bluegrass world by storm, and I love it. I don’t believe this album received quite as many accolades as their first, but it’s still great.Listen to: The Train That Carried My Girl from Town, You Can Feel it in Your Soul, I’m Working on a Road (to Glory Land) Honorable Mention: Welcome Home – The Gospel PlowboysMost of the other names on this list are familiar to almost any bluegrass fan, with several songs on the radio and the charts throughout the year. The Gospel Plowboys are a more regionally-performing band, newly added to Mountain Fever’s roster, but their album Welcome Home stopped me in my tracks when I first listened to it this summer. They have some of the best bluegrass vocal harmonies I have ever heard and a solid selection of songs on this album. They’re another band I’m excited about hearing more from.Listen to: It Is Well With My Soul, Red River, The Dream Honorable Mention: A Distant Horizon – Jeff Brown & Still LonesomeAfter spending several years as one of the best sidemen in the business, Jeff Brown is now making his own mark in the world of bluegrass. He seems to have quite a knack for finding solid material, and this sophomore release is proof. He leads a band of exceptional young musicians through a set of great songs. His unique mountain-tinged vocals come through clearly on this one. With the passing of Ralph Stanley earlier this year, it’s good to know there’s another voice out there projecting the lonesome mountain sound.Listen to: Appalachia is My Name, When the Water’s Too High, Let Come and Go What May” - John Goad

Bluegrass Today

Union House Records is pleased to announce the release of the new single, "A Better Game", from Jeff Brown and Still Lonesome. The entire project, entitled A Distant Horizon, will be available on Friday, August 26, 2016. Jeff states, "We are very excited about this project. Having Wayne Taylor from Blue Highway as the producer seemed to be a perfect fit. Recording this project was a great experience from start to finish and sure was a lot of fun. We feel that with the variety of songs there is something that everyone will enjoy on this CD".\ Wayne not only served as producer of this project, but also performed a duet with Jeff on "Back When My Bluegrass Was Green", a song written by Wayne Taylor, Tim Stafford and Kim Williams. Wayne said, "There are times in this life when you are asked to do something totally unexpected, this happened to me when my longtime friend Jeff Brown asked me to help with this record. Great material and great musicians equal a project that I consider it an honor and am very proud to be part of. Other special guests on this project include Adam Haynes (fiddle player with The Grascals) and Gaven Largent (dobro player with Blue Highway). Jeff Brown and Still Lonesome, in conjunction with Radio Bristol, will host a CD Release party to celebrate and premiere the release of A Distant Horizon, on August 26, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Virginia. Wayne Taylor is also slated that night to be a special guest with the band. The single “A Better Game” can be purchased at the Jeff Brown & Still Lonesome website. The complete project A Distant Horizon will be available on Itunes, Amazon and CD Baby after the release ”

Cybergrass