NewFound Road

Live at the Down Home

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NewFound Road singer/guitarist Tim Shelton introduces "These Days," the second track on the band's sixth album, Live at the Down Home, by praising its songwriter, Jackson Browne, and asking the Tennessee club crowd to voice its approval, which it does. That's notable not only because Browne might have been considered persona non grata to a country or bluegrass audience because of his political views, but also because he is not known for his contributions to the bluegrass repertoire. Yet that is NewFound Road's approach here, to offer traditional arrangements of sometimes non-traditional material. So, even though the song list includes Earl Scruggs' "Ruben" and Carter Stanley's "Lonesome River," the kind of numbers one might expect from a bluegrass outfit, it also boasts a batch of pop-folk-country hits of the 1970s and ‘80s including Tom T. Hall's "That's How I Got to Memphis" (known for Rosanne Cash's recording), Dave Loggins' "Please Come to Boston," and Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine." NewFound Road finds the bluegrass element in such songs, and in a few of its own originals. Although the group is formally considered a quartet, consisting on this recording of Shelton, mandolin player Joe Booher, his brother Jamey Booher on bass, and Josh Miller on banjo, it is augmented throughout by guest fiddle player Jim Van Cleve, who, musically anyway, comes off as a full-fledged member and brings the band up to full bluegrass strength. They may be outside the tradition in terms of song choices, but the band play together with a bluegrass intensity that establishes their bona fides and pleases their listeners at the Down Home.

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