Lonesome Traveler will have to change their name soon to account for the horde of fans that are starting to follow them around. This is an acoustic band from Colorado’s front range with a bluegrass driver’s license, a certificate of songwriting, and a sheriff’s badge of cool. They possess the cracklin’ firepower of a six-piece band, yet the grace of a dancer as they weave in and around their condenser microphones, singing, picking, and testifying to the gospel of Americana music.
Although the band had already been loosely formed at the fiddler’s wedding, it was tempered in a snowy ditch along Interstate 25, when brothers-in-law Evan Neal (stand-up bass) and Chad Fisher (fiddle) gathered their wits after being severely hit from behind by an out-of-control vehicle. They were returning home from a show at the Boulder Theater (it was Edgar Meyer and Mike Marshall, 11/20/04) and in a way only severe occurrences can, the accident refocused the pair on the pivotal role music would play in their future. Lonesome Traveler took to the trail that night.
The sisters, to whom Neal and Fisher are married, are cousins with the father/son guitar tandem of the band, Rick and Dustin Scott. Although both are accomplished flat-pickers from the Doc/Tony/Norman school, it is Rick’s Travis-style finger-picking coupled with Dustin’s cleanly flat-picked runs that anchor Lonesome Traveler’s unique sound. Dustin and Rick also contribute original songs to the band’s repertoire, as well as lead and harmony vocals.
Jodi Boyce on mandolin and Ansel Foxley on resonator guitar could be considered the history and future of Lonesome Traveler. As the undisputed leader of the band and original visionary, Jodi’s songs, lead and harmony singing, fluid and articulate instrumental work are the engine and framework of the band’s vehicle. Ansel Foxley is the newest member, and makes a significant impact on the band’s second (and most recent) CD: Listen to That Sound. Contributing an edgy, warm baritone voice on lead and harmony, original songs, and a bluesy Dobro style (he’s the ’07 Rockygrass Dobro champion), Ansel adds just a dash of modernity to the band’s traditional sensibilities.
To this mix is added the music of the original crash brothers, Evan Neal on bass, and Chad Fisher on fiddle. Both men are healthy six footers (and then some) and visually frame the edges of the stage. Evan’s bass playing supplies the drive and swing that allows the band to meander through their set’s myriad of styles, as he simultaneously enthralls crowds with his ever-present smile, rhythmic bopping and occasional lead vocals. Fisher’s fiddling adorns the band’s solid sound with sweeping double stops and traditionally schooled back-ups and breaks. On an instrument that could easily overpower a band, Chad’s subtle and solid phrasing adds the textures one usually hears from more aged veteran fiddlers.
Together the six make music that moves the old sounds forward, much like the car that hit the back of Evan’s truck that winter. Their songs are squarely in the rich vein of Americana bluegrass, folk, blues, country and Celtic sounds, yet they bring in contemporary metaphors and reflections that are connecting with audiences and radio listeners all across our great nation. Taking second place in both Telluride and Rockygrass band contests, and playing over 150 shows a year since they started, the band is putting on the miles and getting out the smiles wherever they go.