Harlan, KY -- Cumberland River is proud to announce a new band member, multi-instrumentalist Gary Robinson, Jr. who joins the group on Lead Guitar. Gary’s incredible talents certainly add to the dynamic sound of this now 6-piece band that includes the talents of: James Dean (Banjo, lead & harmony vocals), Joey Jones (Bass), Dustin Middleton (Mandolin, Lead & Harmony Vocals), Jamie Stewart (Dobro), and Gary’s brother in-law, Brad Gulley (Guitar, Lead & Harmony Vocals).
Cumberland River’s live performances have not only garnered numerous recent SOLD OUT shows, but incredible feedback from promoters and fans alike. The group will hit the stage at the upcoming World Chicken Festival Stage of Stars in London, Kentucky on September 28; the International Bluegrass Music Association’s IBMA FanFest on Saturday, September, 29; the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival in Manteo, NC, plus the festival’s After Party at the Outer Banks Brewing Station on October 6, and many more.
Growing up in Ewing, VA in beautiful Lee County near the Cumberland Gap National Park, Gary was raised in the heart of the Cumberland Mountains - a hotbed for bluegrass music and great bluegrass musicians. He began playing mandolin at age 8 and not long after began appearing as a guest on the stages of Kentucky’s world famous Renfro Valley. His talent caught the ears of Rickie Simpkins and Wyatt Rice who helped produce a solo project for the young musician which continued to garner attention for Gary throughout the region. It was around this time that Gary helped to form the popular group, Cumberland Gap Connection and stayed with that band for 6 years - recording three albums.
In the three years since his departure from the Connection, Gary has continued to perform with different regional groups at festivals, concerts and churches. A multi–instrumentalist, Gary is equally at home on guitar and also plays banjo. After a little while to reflect on what direction he wanted to take with his musical talent, Gary didn’t have to wait very long for the right opportunity to present itself. When the guys in Cumberland River came calling asking Gary to sit in on lead guitar, it only took a couple of tunes for everyone to know that this was truly something special. He’s enjoying his new musical role more than anything he’s ever been a part of in the past. He looks forward to a long relationship with the guys in Cumberland River and is proud to be the band’s newest member.
Cumberland River’s roots have run deep in Harlan County Kentucky hills for generations, so it is no surprise fans can hear the heritage of traditional bluegrass in their music. Their new album, The Life We Live, was released in July 2011 on Nashville’s Rural Rhythm Records and certainly showcases the incredible songwriting talents of this hot young group with all five band members contributing to this impressive first national release.
The band actually began in 2009 and early on, they decided they would have to write their own material to ensure their music would appeal to both the younger generation as well as the fans of more traditional, bluegrass music. As evidenced by recent reviews from media and radio, plus their growing number of loyal fans, they have certainly accomplished that goal.
In July 29, 2010, Cumberland River was invited to perform for the writers and producers of the FX Network’s TV show, Justified while they were in Harlan gathering information for their upcoming season. With only 24 hours notice, the band got together and wrote a song, “Justified” as a gift to the show. They received a standing ovation from the writers and producers, including Graham Yost, the multi-award winning writer and producer. Cumberland River added the song to their debut album, Rock Island Express released September 3, 2010 and a newly cut version appears as a bonus track on their new album.
TV viewer’s got a taste of Cumberland River’s music in the opening scene of the March 2, 2011 Justified episode, “For Blood or Money,” when they heard the band performing an instrumental version of their original song “Justified” during the opening scene. On the April 6, 2011 episode, viewers got a full dose when fans could hear the band performing five more of their songs during the first 30 minutes. During that time frame, the show was averaging 3.9 million total viewers on the first run of Season Two with a multi-run weekly average of 7.2 million total viewers and gaining fans every week. Bluegrass music is alive and well on national TV!
The Life We Live was produced by acclaimed singer-songwriter Steve Gulley. The album includes members, Dustin Middleton, James, Dean, Joey Joes, Jamie Stewart, with special guests, Dale Ann Bradley, Justin Moses and Andy Buckner. This impressive new project is a fine collection of original music of heart felt songs and haunting ballads written by Cumberland River and taken from their life experiences and campfire stories from Harlan County, Kentucky.
Cumberland River made quite an impression during the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass held in Nashville, TN October 2011. The band was chosen as an Official Showcase performer, and also performed numerous other times during the weeklong event including: Ernest Tubb Record Shop on Broadway, Rural Rhythm After Hours Showcase, the South Florida Bluegrass Association’s After Hours Showcase and more. The band also held meet n’ greets at their booth in the Exhibit Hall of the Nashville Convention Center where they met with radio djs, talent buyers and fans.
For more information on Cumberland River, please visit Cumberland-River.com. To view their music video of their song, “Justified,” please visit CMT.com. For more information on Cumberland River's current album The Life We Live on Rural Rhythm Records, please visit www.RuralRhythm.com.