Best Bluegrass Band - 2004
The Lonesome Pines
The Lonesome Pines might not be the most ubiquitous of area bluegrass bands, but it's certainly the most tenured. Members of the group have been playing bluegrass together since the early 1970s, and while today it's easier to catch them in one of their many rockabilly or zydeco incarnations (Rockhouse Ramblers, the Orbits, T-Wayne and the Swamptones), the Lonesome Pines still get together every few months to re-establish their reign as the best bluegrass band around. The group's most recent title defense came in July, when the Lonesome Pines performed a knee-slappin', yee-hawin' set for a crowd of some 7,000 people who showed up to see them at the Missouri Botanical Garden. In concert the group (which includes Gary Hunt on guitar, Bob Breidenbach on dobro, Thayne Bradford on fiddle and mandolin, Sandy Weltman on banjo and harmonica, and Vince Corkery on upright bass) performs a mix that's about 75 percent traditional bluegrass and gospel compositions and 25 percent original works. Catch 'em if you can.