Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers perform new bluegrass music Friday in Clifton



When Billy Blue Records released “Let Time Ride” on March 17, it ushered in a new chapter for Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers. The award-winning bluegrass group based in the Miami Valley will showcase its increased musical diversity when Mullins (vocals, banjo), Adam McIntosh (vocals, guitar), Jason Barie (fiddle), Randy Barnes (vocals, bass) and Chris Davis (vocals, mandolin) perform at Clifton Opera House in Clifton on Friday, April 21.

“I think ‘Let Time Ride’ is going to be a hit album,” Mullins said. “We’ve got great songwriters sending stuff to us. Bluegrass fans should hang onto these songs for years to come. We’re very fortunate. It’s all good timing and timing is everything.”



Expanding the brand

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers were named 2019′s Entertainer of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association, but Mullins remains focused on the future. The Dayton area native, a second-generation bluegrass musician and radio broadcaster, has always been very conscious of not making the same album two times in a row. He’s always tweaking the formula, often between releases dedicated to traditional bluegrass and bluegrass gospel.

In the case of “Let Time Ride,” the Radio Ramblers alternated the content track to track, exploring bluegrass, gospel and even traditional country. That was a conscious decision according to McIntosh, who was with the group from 2006 to late 2012 and rejoined in 2019.

“We’ve played traditional bluegrass for like 16 years now,” said McIntosh, who co-produced the album with Mullins. “We’ve proved we know how to do that but this record features at least two or three songs that are outside of that box. It’s not just a toe outside the box, it’s a full step outside. With all this modern acoustic music the market has got to change. If we’re going to stay relevant, we have to show people we can change as well. In my core I really think this is a year the Radio Ramblers are going to show a little bit more of what we can do that’s outside the box.”

Check out the official music video for Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers’ “Black & White” from the new album “Let Time Ride” (Billy Blue Records):

A versatile addition

An important aspect of the group’s sonic shift is the addition of seasoned musician Chris Davis, who replaced Jeff Parker in mid-2022.

“Chris is a force, so it has been very exciting,” Mullins said. “He’s a great mandolin artist and great vocalist. He is a Miami Valley native that has been a journeyman bluegrass entertainer the last 20 years. He’s worked with everybody from Marty Raybon and Diamond Rio to the Grascals. He didn’t live in the area, he lived in Ashland, Kentucky, and now he’s kind of come home to the Radio Ramblers.”

Davis’ bluegrass roots run deep. His father, Danny, and grandfather, Elzie, both played around Dayton. The first touring gig for Davis was with Larry Cordle in 2006. In addition to the Grascals and Marty Raybon & Full Circle, he has worked with Melvin & Ray Goins, Larry Sparks & the Lonesome Ramblers, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice and Wildfire. He even filled in as mandolinist with country group Diamond Rio in 2014.



Capturing a familiar flavor

“Chris has been one of the most heard vocalists on bluegrass radio the last few years,” Mullins said. “He was on a couple of big hit albums with the Grascals and other bands before that. He joined the Radio Ramblers late last summer, so this is our first album with one of the most loved talents in bluegrass, vocally and instrumentally. Singing with Chris and Adam McIntosh has just been bliss.”

McIntosh has also enjoyed the musical camaraderie the group provides.

“(Chris) is so versatile and he blends so well,” he said. “The (blend) of the original version of the band was always prominent, which I loved. It sounded like one voice. We have that back with Chris. Everything just fits. This has turned out to be a pretty big year for the band. Joe works really hard to make sure we always have forward momentum. He’s one of those guys that thinks two or three or steps ahead. Joe never rests and we’re really seeing the results of all that hard work.”

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or


Who: Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers

Where: Clifton Opera House, 5 Clay St., Clifton

When: Friday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Cost: $20

More info: 937-342-2175 or

Artist info:

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