Mark Newton

Follow Me Back to the Fold

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Bluegrass guitarist Mark Newton undertook quite a project when he assembled his 2000 album Follow Me Back to the Fold by calling together some of the most talented women in bluegrass and showcasing many of their compositions on a single CD. Festival stalwarts Rhonda Vincent, Lynn Morris, and the Whites anchor some of the lesser-known newcomers like Valerie Smith and Sally Jones, making for an interesting blend of familiar and new voices. Newton assembled a top-notch band, including Tony Rice, Alan Bibey, Ronnie Stewart, Fred Travers, and (naturally) two female instrumentalists, Missy Raines on bass and Kristin Scott playing banjo. These seasoned studio and touring musicians lay down a clean backdrop for the guest vocalists to work over top of, each adding subtle nuances and their own personal style to their respective tracks. The gentle "A Child Again" is a quiet duet featuring warm and intimate vocals from Cathy Chiavola, while Lynn Morris' "Never Looking Back" rips and rolls along on a more boisterous path. The album ends with an ensemble piece paying tribute to Mother Maybelle Carter, and features all of the performers on the project taking turns inviting their sisters in bluegrass to follow them in embracing the long-neglected involvement of women in bluegrass music.

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