MARK NEWTON & STEVE THOMAS, “Reborn,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks.

Mark Newton and Steve Thomas each have three decades of bluegrass experience behind them. But they’re new working as a duet this festival season.

Both grew up in Virginia in musical families and both started playing bluegrass as kids.

Newton has worked in the Virginia Squires, the Tony Rice Unit, The Seldom Scene and in various other duet and solo projects through the years.

Thomas’ resume includes tenures with Jim & Jesse and The Virginia Boys, The Lost and Found, The Whites, The Osborne Brothers, Aaron Tippin, Barbara Mandrell, Brooks and Dunn, LeeAnn Womack, Kenny Chesney, John Michael Montgomery, Ronnie Bowman, and Lorrie Morgan.

The new partnership finds them sharing lead singing duties.

“Old McDonald,” the first single off the new “Reborn” album, is an uptempo song about hard times forcing a farmer to sell his land and livestock.

The album, which arrives in stores on April 30, is a blend of old and new songs.

The old include The Delmore Brothers’ “Blue Railroad Train,” the Louvin Brothers’ “Are You Missing Me,” Bill Monroe’s “Kentucky Waltz,” Dallas Frazier’s “If It Ain’t Love” (a 1972 country hit for Connie Smith), Charlie Poole’s “The Girl I Left In Sunny Tennessee” and “Nobody’s Business,” versions of which began in the 1920s blues tradition.

Newer material includes “The Key,” a gospel song; “Painted Lady,” a song about a man wishing he could be a cowboy; Thomas’ “Far Far Cry,” a blazing song about a man who’s lost his job and been jailed since his woman left; “Pineywood Hills,” a song about a homesick rambling man; and “Country Song,” about a song that will bring her back to him.

Good album by a good new duet.

Can’t find it in stores? Try

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