WANT TO GO?
Who: Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers
Where: LaComedia Dinner Theatre, 765 W. Central Ave., Springboro
When: 6 p.m. Monday, May 16
More info: 937-746-4554 or www.lacomedia.com
Appearances at the Grand Ole Opry, a European tour and a top five album on the Billboard charts weren’t a consideration when Joe Mullins formed the Radio Ramblers a decade ago. However, that’s exactly what happened.
The Radio Ramblers — Mullins (banjo, vocals), Mike Terry (mandolin, vocals), Dwayne Sparks (guitar, vocals), Randy Barnes (bass, vocals) and Jason Berry (fiddle) — celebrates its 10th anniversary at LaComedia Dinner Theater in Springboro on Monday, May 16.
“It has grown by accident but that’s not a bad thing,” Mullins said. “Fortunately we’ve got hundreds of fans in the Miami Valley that have encouraged us since day one. They’ve heard me on the radio for a lifetime and they’ve caught the band, for better or worse, at car lots and county fairs to Island Park, the Roberts Center and other venues around the area. LaComedia is a great place for such an occasion — it’s dinner and a show.”
The gospel bluegrass record, “Sacred Memories,” was released on April 15 and features some high profile guest appearances. Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White sing on the title track, which is an old Dolly Parton B-side. Rhonda Vincent, who sang on the band’s first gospel album, is on the story song, “I Hope We Walk the Last Mile Together.” Members of the Isaacs, who started their music ministry in Warren County, join the Radio Ramblers for the a cappella album-closer, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”
“While there is a gospel message throughout a lot of the songs, two or three of them are story songs and they have a deeper meaning than just three chords and the truth,” Mullins said. “There’s something there for everybody. We launched the album with our latest appearance at the Grand Ole Opry on April 2. It hit number five on Billboard a few weeks after it came out. We had a single out pre-release and it made the top five on the radio charts in March and now the album is on the sales chart.”
For the past several years, the Radio Ramblers averaged more than 100 shows a year. Later this week, the band will play their first European dates.
“We’ve played three different Canadian provinces over the last five or six years,” Mullins said. “We’ve done a couple of cruises but we’re really excited to be going to Europe. I’ve been performing off and on for 30 years but I’ve never got to be on the road with my band in Europe. Things are still on the climb for the band and that’s exciting.”