Randy Cook & Commonwealth Bluegrass Band released their self-titled album on February 10th. Randy Cook & Commonwealth Bluegrass Band is based in central Virginia. The band has been together since 2012, quickly building a fan base in central Virginia and beyond. The album has also been released to AirPlay Direct and is available for radio there. Visit the band's Facebook page for ordering information and to find out what this new bluegrass band is all about.
Band leader Randy Cook plays mandolin and sings lead and harmony vocals. Randy started playing guitar in high school and became interested in Bluegrass music while in college. After graduating from Virginia Tech, Randy returned to the Richmond area and helped form the well-known country-rock band, Second Helping, playing a stint on the pedal steel guitar, which he continues to play today when he has time. Randy’s love of Bluegrass music kept him interested in playing acoustic guitar and mandolin, and in the late 1990’s he joined with banjo great James Bailey (formerly with The Country Gentlemen) to form James Bailey & Company. The group released two CD’s that introduced Randy to Bluegrass music at the national level.
Banjo player Malcolm Pulley, following a tour in the US Navy, returned to the central Virginia area and played in various local bands including, Dixie Reign and Virginia Rail. Honing his song-writing skills, Malcolm released a songwriter demo project which included the well-known bluegrass standard “In The Gravel Yard” – later recorded by Blue Highway, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, and many others. The song was nominated for IBMA song of the year in 1996. Malcolm has continued to have songs recorded by other groups such as The Rambling Rooks, James King, Tina Adair, Paul Adkins, Mill Run, and Michelle Nixon and Drive. Malcolm wrote four of the twelve songs on the new Commonwealth Bluegrass Band CD.
Bassist Lance Seal has been playing music for the last 11 years and is an accomplished musician, playing guitar, banjo, and bass. He also sings lead and harmony. Lance played banjo for the nationally known as Gold Heart. Upon his return to central Virginia after college, Lance played on an informal basis with numerous local and regional bands and recorded his own solo project. Lance is a strong lead vocalist and joined the band in early 2013.
Jason Owen, from Culpeper, Virginia, plays guitar in the band and sings lead and harmony vocals. Jason has been around Bluegrass music since his early childhood. His dad, Everett Owen, played banjo and took Jason along to all of this festival shows. Jason became serious about the guitar at the age of twelve and joined his first band, New Found Grass, at the age of fourteen. Jason went on to play with such well known bands as Heritage and The Travelers, where he was tutored by Norman Wright and Kevin Church, both of whom are Virginia Bluegrass legends. Jason is well-known for his strong rhythm guitar style, superb singing and esceptional song-writing. He has had songs recorded by numerous groups, including Kenny and Amanda Smith. He also wrote one song for the new Commonwealth Bluegrass Band release.