Part of the roots music explosion that took place in Southern California during the '80s, the Lonesome Strangers' harmonies evoked great fraternal duos like the Delmore Brothers and Everly Brothers, even though leaders Randy Weeks and Jeff Rymes weren't related at all. Weeks, a transplant from Minnesota, and Rymes, a Colorado native, founded the band in Los Angeles in 1984 (some accounts have it as early as 1982); their initial rhythm section featured bassist Nino Del Pesco and ex-Wall of Voodoo drummer Joe Nanini. Blending their vocal harmonies effortlessly over a blend of vintage country and roots rock, the Lonesome Strangers played around the L.A. club scene and quickly attracted the attention of producer Pete Anderson, who would soon make his name helming Dwight Yoakam's records. Anderson included their "Lonesome Pine" on the 1985 compilation A Town South of Bakersfield, which gave crucial early exposure to Yoakam, Rosie Flores, James Intveld, and other Americana-minded artists from the resurgent Los Angeles/Bakersfield scene. Anderson produced their debut album, also called Lonesome Pine, which was released on the small Wrestler label to positive reviews. Nanini left the band after the album was completed but before it was released, allowing new drummer Mike McLean to appear with the group on the artwork. The Strangers toured behind Yoakam and Dave Alvin, after which Del Pesco departed to form Snakefarm with Barry McBride; he was replaced by Lorne Rall.