From her tenure playing with The Claire Lynch Band, to her 7 International Bluegrass Music Association Bass Player of the Year awards, Missy Raines has proven herself without doubt as an iconic bluegrass instrumentalist. But with her newest release, Royal Traveller, Raines has stepped into the spotlight as a songwriter for the first time. The album digs deep into Raines’ family life and her upbringing in West Virginia. Featuring an array of incredible musicians including some previous and current members of her live band, and cameos from other bluegrass greats such as Stuart Duncan and Tim O’Brien, the album is a gorgeous look into the perspective, history, and musical influences of one of Nashville’s most beloved musicians, Missy Raines.
Royal Traveller is Raines’ third album for Compass Records, and the first produced by Compass’ owner and founder, and renowned banjo player Alison Brown. “I went into this project with Alison with the mindset that I wanted to stretch myself. I think we achieved what I was looking for, which is something further reaching and bigger than what I would have accomplished on my own,” says Raines.
In 1998, Raines became the first woman to win IBMA’s Bass Player of the Year award and she went on to win the title more than any other bass player in the history of the organization, male or female. Royal Traveller highlights this particular piece of Raines’ history with the stand out track “Swept Away”, which features the 5 first women to win IBMA instrumentalist awards, Raines, Alison Brown (banjo), Sierra Hull (mandolin), Becky Buller (fiddle), and Molly Tuttle (guitar). “Swept Away” was nominated by the IBMA for “Song of the Year” and for “Recorded Event of the Year” awards.
With her new album, Raines tells her story with a vulnerability and bold honesty that rings clear, spoken through beautiful arrangements and well chosen musical collaborations. With nods to many of the varied and challenging chapters of her life, the songs speak volumes of Raines tenacity and musicianship, and her ability to rise to bluegrass fame despite the various confinements of the times. The listener is presented with a striking window into the up and down ride of a very royal traveller, the one and only Missy Raines.