Reviewed by C. Eric Banister
The new album by Newfound Road might be called "Same Old Place," but the music doesn't find the band stalled out in the same old place. Their sophomore release for Rounder (and fifth overall) finds the band teaming with producer Jim VanCleve, of the award winning group Mountain Heart, to polish their sound and song selection.
While the sound may be a little too polished for some bluegrass purists, the crisp, clean production brings out the sound of each instrument and harmony part. Van Cleve's experience and ear truly make him the hidden member of the band. But that's not to take away from the group itself. Led by the smooth baritone of Tim Shelton, the group tackles songs both old and new from the pens of Tim Stafford, Carter Stanley, Sonya Isaacs, Ralph Stanley, Larry Sparks and Tim O'Brien.
The rest of the group - Randy Barnes on bass, Joe Booher on mandolin, Justin Moses on guitar and Jr. Williams on banjo (although there have been some member changes since) - prove to be able to stand toe-to-toe with any band on the circuit today. While exhibiting a respect for their roots in tradition, the group remains fresh and contemporary.