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Emerson and Newton

A Foot in the Past, A Foot in the Future – 1998 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Emerson and Newton

This album features a lot of the old and the new of bluegrass music. Legendary banjoman Bill Emerson (the Country Gentlemen, Jimmy Martin's Sunny Mountain Boys, Country Current) combines with singer/guitarist, Mark Newton (the Virginia Squires).

The songs are a pleasant mix of chestnuts from Emerson's glory days with Martin and the Gents, including "Home Run Man," "Little Bessie" and "Don't Cry to Me," along more contemporary tunes like a re-make of Dan Seals' country hit, "Headin' West."

Emerson's instrumentation is superb, as expected, but it is Newton's unique tenor that makes this stand out from the crowd of recently released bluegrass CDs. Rounding out the band is Emory Lestor on mandolin, Bob Goff on bass, joined by session players, Ricky Simpkins on fiddle and Fred Travers on dobro.

The record doesn't break any new ground, but is a good first effort.