Cumberland River is a bluegrass band from Harlan County in Eastern Kentucky. Jeff's family is also from Harlan and one of his cousins, Danny, happens to play guitar in the band—he's the one on the far right in the b&w photo below. Last summer, a group of writers and producers from FX (the network that broadcasts the TV series Justified) took a trip to Harlan to scout the area. For those who aren't familiar, Justified is based on an Elmore Leonard story that follows U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens as he returns to his hometown of Harlan. It was clear that details and references to Kentucky were more authentic with the second season of Justified, and this writers trip probably had a lot to do with that. While in Harlan, the group from FX saw Cumberland River perform live, and the band was so well received that an instrumental version of their song "Justified" was used in season 2 episode 4. Five more of the band's songs were used in season 2 episode 9 ("Friend I’m Fine," "Let the Moonshine Flow," "Wild Berries," "My Dad," and "Ridge Runner"). All are from the band's first album River Rock Island Express—listen to samples here. Incidentally, the show's theme song "Long Hard Times to Come" is by Gangstagrass (they're from Brooklyn, but we're not holding it against them).
photography courtesy Cumberland River Band
posted by Rachel