Kentucky bluegrass band, NewTown, are enjoying a busy week as their new CD, Harlan Road, hits stores Friday, July 8, and the IBMA Emerging Artist candidate for nomination headlines the popular Busy Bird Festival on July 9. The disc’s title track premiered on Bluegrass Today last month to rave reviews. NewTown will be having their CD release party on July 30th at Willie’s Locally Known in Lexington, Kentucky.
John Lawless of Bluegrass Today calls their sound “hard-edged contemporary Bluegrass, modern yet still representing the traditions of their Kentucky roots.” Rick Moore of Music News Austin notes the disc’s ” excellent singing and playing drive home the authenticity of the lyrics to some fine story songs.”
Produced by multi-Grammy Award winner Barry Bales, the 11-track outing is on the Mountain Home Music Company label. Filled with tales of the “everyman,” Harlan Road is available for pre-order now on iTunes and includes three instant downloads upon purchase.
The Lexington-based band is fronted by award-winning fiddler Kati Penn and her husband, Jr. Williams, a respected banjo player; both mesmerizing vocalists. The disc “covers all the hoped-for territory while also expanding all expectations,” writes Greg Victor for ParcBench.com. Syndicated UK radio host Bryan Chalker adds, “This is a masterful exercise in progressive Bluegrass that retains the very essence of the genre.”
IBMA members wishing to vote for NewTown in the Emerging Artist category can do so until 5 p.m. CT July 8. To access the ballot, click here.
Founded in 2009, NewTown made the national spotlight with the 2013 album, Time Machine, and the #1 Bluegrass Today single, “All I Was to You.” The group has gained a strong following playing festivals throughout the U.S., and sharing bills with Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, John Cowan Band and more. The group has appeared several times at the legendary Station Inn in Nashville, and twice performed at IBMA World of Bluegrass showcases in Raleigh, North Carolina. In addition to Penn and Williams, Travis Anderson (bass), Mitchell Cannon (mandolin) and Hayes Griffin (guitar) round out the band. Between them, they bring Jazz, Bluegrass and Contemporary disciplines to the music, completing the diverse and textured sound that is NewTown.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.