Larry Cordle was already well respected among other songwriters and bluegrass musicians before he and co-writer Larry Shell won the CMA's song of the year award for "Murder on Music Row." A harsh commentary on country music's move away from
traditional sounds, Cordle and his band, Lonesome Standard Time, made it the title song of their 2000 album. After gaining national media attention, the song made its way to mainstream country after George Strait and Alan Jackson recorded it as a duet appearing on Strait's 2000 compilation, Latest Greatest Straitest Hits.
Garth Brooks, George Jones, Kathy Mattea, John Michael Montgomery, the Osborne Brothers, Trisha Yearwood, Alison Krauss and others have also recorded Cordle's work. Among the biggest hits are Ricky Skaggs' "Highway 40 Blues" and Diamond Rio's "Mama Don't Forget to Pray for Me."
A fixture on the bluegrass circuit, Cordle and LST's music is influenced by legends such as Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs, but the 2002 album Songs From the Workbench demonstrated Cordle's independent spirit. The project's music ranges from a song recorded in the '20s by Appalachian banjo player Dock Boggs to another popularized by the Southern rock band, Blackfoot.
"I think we're a bluegrass band with a rock 'n' roll attitude," says Cordle. "I don't mean that we have a big show, but we try to pay attention to things that I don't hear a lot of bluegrass bands doing. This is really our own sound."
Like most bluegrass bands, LST's membership has evolved through the years. With Cordle on rhythm guitar and vocals, the lineup in early 2003 includes bassist Terry Eldredge (who spent a decade performing with the Osborne Brothers), guitarist Booie Beach (an alumnus of the Larry Stephenson Band), Dobro player Kim Gardner (a former member of Dale Ann Bradley's band, Coon Creek) and banjoist David Talbot (who has appeared on records with Tony Rice, Sam Bush, Tim O'Brien and others).
Continuing to explore bluegrass arrangements for rock songs, Cordle and LST began 2003 by releasing the album, Lonesome Skynyrd Time: A Bluegrass Tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd.