Patrick County bluegrass musician Sammy Shelor performs on Letterman

A member of the Lonesome River Band, Shelor recently won the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass

Joe Dashiell


6:55 PM PST, November 11, 2011



Sammy Shelor has been playing the banjo since he was four years old, and his reputation as a master of traditional bluegrass is already well-established, but with his appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman Friday night, the Patrick County resident is rolling with a different crowd.

"You work all your life and hope you make an impact one way or another in what you do," Shelor said in a telephone interview with News7. "This is definitely a sign that I've done something right." 
What he did was win the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. And Shelor says it was an exciting moment several weeks ago when he picked up a package from the comedian at the Meadows of Dan Post Office.

"I saw Steve Martin's name on there, and I thought 'I know a couple of Steve Martins,' but then when she put the package up on the counter I saw Beverly Hills and 'hmm, you know.'  And the first thing I saw when I opened the package was a check for 50- thousand dollars. And it was just like total surprise, just a real exciting moment standing in the post office of Meadows of Dan, Virginia."

"I'd like to thank Steve Martin and his wife Anne for their generous contribution to the bluegrass world," Shelor told News7. "He definitely has become part of our community, and it's a wonderful thing for bluegrass music, and for Lonesome River Band. And we're just happy to be in New York City."

Shelor said he's been a fan of Letterman since his daytime show in the early '80s.  He was also looking forward to hearing Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra during the commercial breaks.

"And it's just going to be a great experience to get to do this," Shelor said. "It's great to get to do things like this to kind of honor our fans, and the bluegrass world and take bluegrass to another arena."