Newfound Road on right patch with ‘Same Old Place’

NEWFOUND ROAD, “Same Old Place,” Rounder. 12 tracks.

Newfound Road, an Ohio-based bluegrass band, made its debut in 2001 as a gospel group. But five years ago, band members began moving into mainstream bluegrass.

And mainstream bluegrass is better for it.

“Same Old Place,” Newfound Road’s second secular album for Rounder, has it all — great vocals and great picking. In other words, it’s a very strong album.

Tim Shelton, the band’s lead singer, can hold his own with anyone in bluegrass. And he wrote, “Love Stay Away From Me” for the album.

Gospel fans haven’t been forgotten here.

Randy Barnes, Joe Booher, Shelton and Junior Williams give a fine a capella quartet performance on “Give Me Jesus.” And there’s a strong version of Ralph Stanley and Larry Sparks’, “I Am The Man Thomas.”

“Try To Be” is sort of a gospel/secular mix about a man who’s trying to be the best he can be.

The title cut is about a man who can’t settle down, but always finds his way back home. “On The Back Row” is country music the way it ought to sound — a song about a man sitting in church, thinking about the tavern where they used to meet as he watches her marry someone else.

All in all, this is a strong, muscular album, blending gospel, country, traditional and contemporary bluegrass.

Can’t find it in stores? Try www.rounder.com after April 28.

Keith Lawrence, 691-7301,klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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