Two masters of the bedrock of old time music, Mike Compton and Joe Newberry collaborate with a vision that's both modern and ageless. These traditional music veterans love to play together and it shows. Although they live miles apart, their music sounds as if they are next-door neighbors. And audiences around the world agree.
Mike Compton and Joe Newberry mine one of the more neglected segments of country music history, that period during the '30's and '40's when brother duet music was transforming into bluegrass. Few are better equipped for the task with Newberry able to replicate the under-appreciated power of country rhythm guitar styles and exquisite open back banjo. Mix in Mike's mastery of the Monroe style of mandolin and their simpatico duet singing and you have a two person string band that can effortlessly move from traditional songs to contemporary instrumentals to 'mother' ballads to original compositions with an ease that belies their intensity.
It's not about the number of notes with Compton and Newberry. It's about telling the truth and paying homage to the song.
East Tennessee Blues: Originally recorded by Charlie Bowman and the Hillbillies in 1926. There are a number of old-time instrumentals that follow this basic melodic structure.
Righteous Pathway: Recorded by the Stanley Brothers as "Let Me Walk Lord, by Your Side," this song tells a wonderful story of redemption and acceptance. not bad for three verses with no chorus!
Sittin' on Top of the World: Credited to the Mississippi Sheiks whose version is represented here. It is one of the most popular blues songs ever recorded.
Lazy John: From sources from all over, including Clyde Davenport, Brad Leftwich, Bruce Molsky, and Johnnie Lee Wills. Apologies to all people names John. Joe added the verse about the girl "who lives in town. Her hair is curly and her eyes are brown."
Rocky Road Blues: Written by Bill Monroe in 1945. Recorded by everyone from monroe himself to Brian Setzer. More likely a collection of floating verses along the same lines as "Sittin' on Top..." but with Monroe's name on 'em. Clearly country blues format.
How Long Blues: From a duet recording by blues greats Frank Stokes and Dan Sane. Their style dates back to blues before it went to town!
Evening Prayer Blues: This instrumental is by the great harmonica wizard Deford Bailey. The song represents a gospel choir singing hallelujahs. This version has a bit of Bailey's rendition and a bit of Bill Monroe's wrapped up in exquisite playing.
Kentucky Waltz: Waltzes with states in the name were all the rage in the country and bluegrass world of the 1940's and 1950's. Bill Monroe wrote the Kentucky Waltz in 1946 in honor of his home state.
Rocky Island: Martin Young and Corbett Grigsby are the sources for "Rocky Island". John Cohen recorded the high-energy duo for his landmark collection "Mountain Music of Kentucky." Mike and Joe's version comes complete with the harmony laughing that marked the original.
I Know Whose Tears (Joe Newberry, Newberry Songs): Joe wrote this tune after learning of the three line Rudyard Kipling poem "Mother O'Mine" that was read at Sarah Carter's funeral. Joe added three more couplets and a chorus. The song has been recorded by artists around the US and Europe, including the Gibson Brothers, Val Mindel and Emily Miller, Big Medicine, Italy's Bononia Grass, and Sweden's Sofia Norsnsater.
Raleigh and Spencer: This song could be about two towns or two men. But, one thing is for certain..."there ain't no more whiskey in the town." Joe baed his version on that of famed Surry County, N.C., fiddler Tommy Jarrell, and added the verse about being "born alone in this old wide world."
Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss: Also known as "Susannah Gal" and "Western Country," "Fly Around" is an old-toime music standard recorded by everyone from the Skillet Lickers to Bascom Lamar Lunsford.