Same Old Place
- Reviewed by Andy Argyrakis Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2009 21 Jul
Franklin, Ohio isn't exactly the hub of bluegrass and southern gospel, but NewFound Road, founded in 2002, is comprised of country boys at heart. Though no strangers to the southern scene, the foursome flexes its creative muscles here. Besides incorporating boatloads of banjo, mandolin, and a wide array of earthy guitar sounds, the guys' harmonies are amongst the most plentiful and precise in the genre today.
Similar to Nickel Creek, the group seeks to introduce bluegrass to a younger generation by breaking some traditional rules. Tender finger picking is often replaced by blistering solos, while the majority of Same Old Place is doused in barn-burning delivery. If there's any throwback on these twelve tunes, it's bluesy lyrics anchored in biblically-based reflections that recall old-time spirituals (but with a much more vivacious delivery).
Still, there are a few softer spoken moments, such as an a cappella version of "Give Me Jesus" that is so compelling, they could seriously start a barbershop quartet on the side. But bluegrass is certainly what they do best, though these creative efforts could help the generally concentrated niche attract new audiences.
Style: acoustic worship; Jill Phillips, Susan Ashton, Laura Story, Bonnie Raitt
In a nutshell: Having already risen to recognition in Canada as a worship leader in the Vineyard movement, this soulful singer is already seasoned in praise choruses. "Sing to Jesus" (a chilling duet with Brian Doerksen) could be her ticket to American acclaim.
Style: pop/rock; Phil Wickham, Jeremy Camp, The Afters, Tenth Avenue North
In a nutshell: For a virtual unknown, this Alabama upstart already has a handle on shiny though not overly glossed production, with a balance of bellowing rock and stripped-down pop. Vocally he's also in fine form, though common themes of living a Christian life are redundant.
Style: alternative pop/jam rock; Burlap to Cashmere, Counting Crows, Dave Matthews Band
In a nutshell: Given the epic arrangements and occasional jam sessions, this Westchester, New York foursome's music seems destined for great live shows. But there are still many stirring moments in the studio, such as the sax-doused "Womb Boy," an anti-abortion reflection told from the perspective of an unborn baby.?
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