Fame finds Harlan County bluegrass band

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

They said it all seems like a dream! And it's been a whirlwind for members of Harlan County's Cumberland River Band.
Wednesday night five of their songs were heard on a cable television show!

It started with back porch pickin'.

"That's how we were raised. Weekends we had bluegrass jams at our houses," said James Dean, Vocalist and Banjo player for Cumberland River.

Now they have made it to the small screen.

"It's like I'm just waiting for the punch line, like it's a big joke. It's hard to take it all in," said Joey Jones, Bass player.

Bluegrass band Cumberland River has inked a deal with Rural Rhythm Records.

"When we were at the studio and heard we were getting a record deal, we broke down and cried. Where we come from, we don't cry over anything," said Dustin Middleton, Mandolin player.

Five of their songs were featured on Wednesday night's episode of "Justified" on FX Network.

The show is set in Harlan County.

Family and friends held a viewing party Wednesday night. Band members were honored with proclamations from city and county government, and then they were named Kentucky Coloniels.

"The response from people in the town is unreal," said Dean.

All five in the band are related, closer now than they've ever been.

"All the time we are trying to make each other laugh," said Jamie Stewart, Oboe player.

The group has high hopes for what is to come. They want to set a new standard for bluegrass.

"I think we will be an instrumental part as bluegrass music goes into the future," said Jones.

"We have all been transformed into these singing machines, and every free moment we all get, we are trying to pump out new songs," said Stewart.

For now, they are left to accept that the best could be yet to come.

"To see something that I could only dream about become a reality for me as my main work is unreal. I can't grasp it," said Dean.

"Our dream has come true. Now where do we go? What's the dream? We've got new dreams. You'll be seeing them real soon," said Jones.

Members of the band had no idea about any of the proclamations or the Kentucky Coloniel presentation Wednesday night.

They said they are honored to represent Harlan County on the national stage.

Their single entitled "Justified" was recently released.

"Justified" airs on FX Network on Wednesday nights at 10.


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