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|Mark Newton||Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals, Tenor (Vocal)|
|Mike Munford||Banjo, Baritone (Vocal)|
|Troy Engle||Fiddle, Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals, Baritone (Vocal), Tenor (Vocal)|
|Bob Goff Jr.||Vocals, Tenor (Vocal)|
Posted October 1, 2010
Mark Newton hails from Kentucky, and he currently lives in Virginia. At age 14, he played in his father's band, Frog Newton and the Tadpoles. After his first band (Cabin Hill) in the mid-70s, Newton joined the Heights of Grass in 1976. Two years later, he was playing with the Knoxville Grass before rejoining the Heights of Grass in 1981. In 1983, four of the five members of the Heights of Grass formed the Virginia Squires. Newton decided to quit the music business in 1988. A couple years later, he formed the Mark Newton Entertainment Agency and began promoting the Graves Mountain Bluegrass Festival in Virginia. In 1998, Mark recorded his first solo album, "Living a Dream" with Bill Emerson, Ralph Stanley, Tony Rice, Dudley Connell, and others. The following year, The Mark Newton band formed. Newton's solo album called "Follow Me Back to the Fold" featured duets with Rhonda Vincent, Lynn Morris, Claire Lynch, Dale Ann Bradley, other women singers. That project won the IBMA for Recorded Event of the Year for 2001. Mark Newton's band debuted on record in 2001 with "Charlie Lawson's Still," the title track which spent eight months on the Bluegrass Unlimited chart. "No Boundaries" marks the release of the second album for The Mark Newton Band. It includes songs from bandmembers Mike Munford (banjo) and Troy Engle (mandolin, fiddle), as well as Tom T. and Dixie Hall, Jimmy Martin, Tim O'Brien, Randall Hylton, Billy Smith and Becky Buller. To some, the project may seem a bit contrived with the familiar bluegrass themes of lost love, home, rambling fever and trains. However, the hook in "Blues for Breakfast," the lonely bluesy licks of "Cabin in the Trees," the vocal harmonies in "A Beautiful Home," and Troy Engle's twin fiddles in "Heartaches and Teardrops" bring expert new contemporary bluegrass sensibilities to old subjects that have been sung about for ages. Their breakdown treatment of "Cindy" is a showcase for some hot picking. Tim O'Brien's "Train on the Island" is a contemporary song that regularly returns to a melodic old-timey sounding riff. The cover of Jimmy Martin's "Losing You" might be the "best thing yet" with the strings shining on their breaks. Mike Munford's instrumental "Linedrive" comes off as sharp as a razor. The album closes with bassplayer Bob Goff, Jr. singing lead on "Railroad Dollar," followed by Troy Engle singing his self-penned clipper, "Only Way I Know." Besides Newton, Munford, Engle and Goff, the album features guest bassist Ronnie Simpkins on three cuts. It might not even have hurt to bring in some hot lead guitar and dobro guests on a couple tracks. The Mark Newton Band is a very solid bluegrass quartet with some high-tone players and singers. They're a class outfit, and this album is right smooth. It's got all the necessary ingredients to further launch this fine band to even greater heights. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.