Virginia Squires, The


  • From Virginia.
  • Formed in 1983 by Rickie Simpkins (fiddle and mandolin), Ronnie Simpkins (bass), Mark Newton (guitar and lead vocals), and Sammy Shelor (banjo.)
  • The Simpkins brothers and Shelor had previously worked with The Heights of Grass. Lead singer Mark Newton had previously worked with The Knoxville Grass.
  • 1984, voted “Bluegrass Band of the Year” by the Country Music Association of Virginia.
  • 1985, released “Mountains and Memories” album (Rebel).
  • 1986, released “Hard Times and Heartaches” album (Rebel).
  • 1988, released “Variations” album (Rebel)
  • Broke up in 1989. They occasonally reunite when the members of the band are together at festivals.
  • Ronnie Simpkins went on to work with many bands including a long-running stint with the Seldom Scene. Rickie Simpkins worked with numerous bands including Tony Rice, Lonesome River Band, Continental Divide, the Isaacs and Emmylou Harris. Sammy Shelor joined the Lonesome River Band and has been its leader ever since. Mark Newton is a solo performer and promotes the annual Graves Mountain Bluegrass Festival in Virginia.