The Po' Ramblin' Boys have released their latest album and their new female lead singer; Laura Orshaw tells us all about it! You can stream the new album, “Never Slow Down” here. ‘This album is titled “Never Slow Down”, and it came from our guitar player Josh. With the pandemic so much of the music industry changed and the band was at this incredible moment where we had a GRAMMY nomination and we played all of these venues we never had played before, so it was a shock to the system when everything slowed down. We were so ready to get back together and once we were able to do it, we were on the top of our game. We are not slowing down!’ In 2019, The band got a GRAMMY nomination in the Best Bluegrass Album category for their album “Toil, Tears & Trouble”. You can check that album out here. ‘Being at the GRAMMYs was wild. We of course knew about the ceremony and people in our genre who had been nominated in previous years but to actually go and experience it was something that we thought was going to happen way further down the line in our career as a band. Getting that nomination is motivation. When someone sees you and notices and loves your music, it keeps you going.’
It is important to note that while Laura has been in the band for years, this album her first as an official member and the only female in the band! Laura loved traditional bluegrass music as a kid, but she always noticed it was mostly men in the bands that she listened too. She stated that ‘the women in the bands were always a side member, not one of the main members. It was rare for women to be in touring bands due to the structure of the genre. I had an awareness of it but Bill Monroe was the father of bluegrass and he had women in his band. I never took it as a “I can’t do this” but I also had a lower expectation for myself like I won’t be a touring musician. I don’t see a lot of people like me on stage. I decided I want to play bluegrass, I do it well and hope to inspire other women. Traditional bluegrass and the intensity of the music can be seen as masculine, but I don’t see it like that. I want to be a part of it’.
One of the earlier songs released from this album is a song called “Ramblin Women” which was written in 1970s by Hazel Dickens who was one of Orshaw’s biggest inspirations. I always listened to Hazel and her music. Her singing style is a mountain ballad, and it is incredibly meaningful to hear Hazel, being a woman and singing this type of music. When bluegrass was developing, this song was performed by Dickens with the same country stars of the day. Because there wasn’t a lot of vintage bluegrass female sound when I was growing up, I learnt a lot of my voice style from the earlier country artists like Kitty Wells with her song “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honkytonk Angels’. Bluegrass is like the indie rock of country. When people love it, they love it, but they may not be aware of it as much as the mainstream music or what gets played on the radio’.
Laura Grew up in Pennsylvania where her parents and grandparents played bluegrass. Laura picked up the fiddle at just 10 years old. ‘I was always around music as a kid and did not think it would become my daily life and getting the opportunity to travel all over the place’. Orshaw met the Po' Ramblin' Boys after playing some musicians who traveled in the same circles as the band. Laura moved to Boston, Massachusetts and wasn’t sure if she would be able play Bluegrass full time and played as a hobby. Orshaw ended up linking back up with the Po' Ramblin' Boys and has never looked back. ‘I get a lot of enjoyment out of music and how I communicate and be social with people. Even when it was a hobby, all my friends were artists or music lovers. While my schedule was getting busier, but it was very fulfilling to me to play. I want all aspiring artists to know that they should put themselves out there and break down the barriers and make it known to people that you are breaking barriers.’
The Po' Ramblin' Boys have an extensive 2022 tour planned so make sure you follow them on Instagram @poramblinboys for the latest news. Check out their website here for tickets to all upcoming shows!