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New Found Road
Same Old Place

Review By Steven Stone
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  Nowadays bluegrass music comes in a myriad of guises. Sometimes what’s called bluegrass is actually acoustic jazz. Other 'bluegrass" bands are actually country acts with acoustic instruments, but New Found Road is the genuine article.

On their second album for Rounder this four-member band displays the breadth of their musical prowess. With only one original song, Tim Shelton’s "Love Stay Away from Me," New Found Road concentrates on interpreting other songwriters’ work. Their song choices are astute. The roster includes two Tim Stafford compositions along with tunes by Sonya Isaacs, Jerry Chestnut, Ronnie Bowman, Sherrill Jennings, Larry Sparks, Ralph Stanley, and Tim O’Brien. 

Some tunes, such as "Love Stay Away from Me," move at a bluesy mid-tempo backwoods pace, while others like "Same Old Place" are slow elbow-bending ballads, but when called for New Found Road can burn 'em down with blistering tempos as they demonstrate on their instrumental "Piledriver." Tim Shelton sings all of the lead vocals. His rich country tenor is smooth yet not overly slick. Jr. Williams’ backing vocals add an extra dimension of drive and complexity to harmonies. On the instrumental side mandolin player Joe Booher delivers hot solos as well as sensitive double stop backing fills. Guest appearances by Justin Moses on resonator guitar, Jim VanCleve and Brandon Goodman on fiddle spice up the breaks on several tunes, but even without the extra firepower New Found Road can pick with the best of 'em.

Co-produced by New Found Road and Jim VanCleve, and recorded and engineered by David Hall at the Omni Sound and 1808 studios in Nashville, Same Old Place sounds finely polished. Some songs, such as the acapella "Give Me Jesus," have a bit too much artificial reverb for my tastes, but most of the material is recorded so that the process or sound never obscures the music’s natural acoustic properties.

If you like your bluegrass heartfelt and straight, New Found Road’s Same Old Place should be in your CD library. 

 

 

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