Ed Helms, comedic actor from The Hangover and The Office, has been performing with bandmates Ian Riggs and Jacob Tilove as The Lonesome Trio for more than 20 years, but this June will see the release of the group’s first album. The self-titled collection, which blends bluegrass, folk, and country, is due out June 16 via Sugar Hill Records.
They began writing songs and performing while attending Oberlin College. Speaking with Rolling Stone Country, Helms said that the trio laid down all vocals and instrumentals for the 12 songs. “We decided right out of the gate that the three of us needed to do the whole thing, but we opened the door to lots of additional instruments and layers. The only rule was that we do it ourselves,” Helms said. “I’m proud of that. It was more important than any crisp perfection in the execution and I just love it. That’s our spirit. There is no sound on that album that didn’t come from the three of us.”
And if you’re surprised by the straightforward naming of the collection … well, that’s not for lack of Helms’ trying: “We talked through a lot of ideas of what to title it and Jake felt strongly that it should be self-titled. I was on the fence; I lean toward irony and something cheeky,” said Helms, whose character on The Office was part of an a cappella group called Here Comes Treble. “But I’m glad we settled on self-titled because it’s the most literal, descriptive and accurate name for the album. It’s who we are. It’s a little unrefined in places but it’s unapologetic.”
The Lonesome Trio have previously performed at the Newport Folk Festival, Rockwood Music Hall in New York City and the Largo in Los Angeles. They are billed as part of a Bluegrass Situation Superjam at Bonnaroo for the third consecutive year this June and will go on a month long tour stopping in cities like Nashville, New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. A full list of dates are on the band’s website. The album is available for pre-sale beginning May 12.
A video of a 2008 performance is below.