Edgar Loudermilk

by Susan Marquez

The Dark Side of Lonesome

Edgar Loudermilk grew up in the hills of north Georgia in a family filled with musicians. He began playing in his family’s band at the age of eleven. “My grandaddy played fiddle, my daddy played banjo, my uncle played guitar and I played doghouse bass,” recalls Edgar. “I had to sit on a chest freezer to play it.”

While he enjoyed his time playing with the family band, by the time he turned eighteen, Edgar wanted to expand his territory. He joined Carolina Crossfire in the Ashville, North Carolina area and played with them for two to three years. Edgar recalls those as his “dues paying years.” He worked third shift at a cotton mill overnight, went to college by day, and slept in the afternoon. “On weekends, I would drive to Ashville to play. I wasn’t making much money, but those were still fun and fruitful years for me, because I did a lot of writing and arranging during that time. I recorded my first project on Mountain Fever records, Roads Traveled, in the mid-2000s, with songs I wrote while I was with Carolina Crossfire.”

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One of Edgar’s bandmates in Carolina Crossfire told him that Rhonda Vincent was looking for a bass player. “I didn’t know how to get in touch with her. I bought her CD’s, and there was a phone number on the back of one. I called the number, and Rhonda’s husband, Herb, answered.” Herb confirmed that she was, indeed, looking for a bass player, and auditions were in Nashville in two weeks. “He liked the fact that I had played in a family band.” Edgar went to Nashville for the audition at Earnest Tubb’s record shop. “There were a lot of folks auditioning. I paid attention, and noticed each person played a couple of songs then left. I was the last one in, and they had me play song after song after song.” After the audition, Rhonda asked Edgar if he’d ever been to the Grand Ole Opry. “I said no, this was my first time in Nashville.” Rhonda led me across the street, through Tootsies, and through an alley into the back door of the Opry. I was backstage while she performed, and then she came from center stage over to me and said she wanted me to experience that before she offered me the job. I couldn’t have had it happen in a cooler way.” Two weeks later, at the age of 22, Edgar was performing with Rhonda Vincent on stage at the Grand Ole Opry, and it was televised on CMT.

“I had some great days with Rhonda,” says Edgar. “I worked with her for a year.” While at IBMA Edgar learned that country singer Marty Raybon’s was making a move to bluegrass. “Marty had sung with Shenandoah, and I was a big fan. I put my name in the hat and got a job playing with Raybon and his band, Full Circle, for the next five years. I did three CDs with him, and Marty became a great friend of mine. He sang on my first album on Mountain Fever Records.”

When Edgar found out Ray Deaton was leaving IIIrd Tyme Out, he got excited. “I was a big fan. We did a lot of their music when I was with Carolina Crossfire. I called Russell Moore, and he said they were leaving soon to perform on a cruise ship. He lined up an audition for me after they returned.”

A month later, Edgar met with Russell at his house. “It was a real thorough audition. I had always sung high tenor, like my dad, but Russell challenged me by having me sing all the different parts. And even though I had never sang bass before, I always sang bass when singing in a quartet with IIIrd Tyme Out.” Edgar said he was on cloud nine. He recorded the lead on Leaving Town Tomorrow which paved the way for him as a singer.

“We did a CD that was sold exclusively in Cracker Barrel stores, timeless hits done in the bluegrass style. The biggest compliment in my life was the opportunity to sing, record, and tour with Russell Moore.”

By 2013, Edgar felt he was ready to go out on his own. He released another CD that November with Mountain Fever Records, My Big Chance Tomorrow, with 15 original songs by Edgar. Shortly after that, he teamed up with David Adkins for a duo project, Adkins & Loudermilk.

“I wrote six or seven songs on that project. We toured it and we were nominated for Emerging Artist of the Year in 2014.” Edgar went on to record the Roads Traveled CD, which featured twelve of his original songs.

Edgar went in his own direction in 2015, signing with Pinecastle Records, where he recorded Georgia Maple, a project that features eight of his original songs. Next Edgar returned to Rural Rhythm Records, where he worked for several years with IIIrd Tyme Out. “It felt like home from the word go.” He put out Lonesome Riverboat Blues, and the title track spent several months on the Sirius XM chart.

The Edgar Loudermilk Band’s newest project is The Dark Side of Lonesome, released in March, which features eight original songs. “I have written hundreds of original songs. On this record, I looked back to the Louvin Brothers, who always wrote songs that tell a story.” The band is joined on the album by guest players Michael Cleveland, Jeff Partin and Hunter Berry. “I’m excited about the project,” says Edgar. “It’s got a good blend of old Gospel as well as hard driving straight ahead bluegrass – there is something to appeal to different audiences. We are really excited about it.” The album is on the Rural Rhythm Records/Green Hill Music, owned by Gaither Music Group.”