Bluegrass legends NewFound Road reunite
at Miamisburg’s Plaza Theatre



Rob Baker, Tim Caudill, Tim Shelton, Jr. Williams

By Matt Clevenger

It’s been more than a decade since the original members of NewFound Road have shared a stage in Ohio. Now the wait is finally over, and the legendary bluegrass act is reuniting for a special appearance at Miamisburg’s historic Plaza Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 27.

“It’s the original line-up,” guitarist and lead vocalist Tim Shelton says. “This will be the first time we’ve played together in Ohio in about 10 years.”

The idea for a reunion show in Miamisburg came about last fall, after the band’s original members got together for a small show in another state. “We actually played one last year at the end of the year in the fall, and it was fun,” Shelton says. “We were just kind of ready to play together and hang out together as much as anything.”

The show will feature NewFound Road and opening act The Repeating Arms, as well as a special appearance by acoustic instrumentalist Justin Moses. “We’ve got a special guest playing with us that night, a guy named Justin Moses who’s just a world-class musician,” Shelton says. “He was a part of Ricky Skaggs’ band for about a year or so. He’ll be there that night as well.”

Known for a long list of bluegrass hits including originals like “Raining the Blues” and traditional standards like “Lonesome River” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” NewFound Road originally formed in Warren County, Ohio. “We started in 2001, and that version of the band toured together for the next four or five years,” Shelton says. “Two of us are from Warren County; one of the original members is from down in Eastern Kentucky and the other guy, he was from Indiana. Three of us lived fairly close when we started the band, but two of us are from, and still live in, Warren County.”

The band originally started out as a gospel group, but soon changed their focus to concentrate on secular bluegrass and roots music. Signing to legendary label Rounder Records in 2006, the group went on to release a string of successful albums, building a reputation as one of modern bluegrass music’s most respected acts before finally disbanding.

“All in all, we toured for about thirteen years,” Shelton says, “North America, not just the U.S.; we were on Rounder Records for three or four albums. Rounder Records at the time was the largest indie label in the world.”

The group endured several line-up changes over the years. “I was the last man standing,” Shelton says. “One by one, everybody just kind of got off the road; one of the guys got married, and he joined her band.”

“I never really stopped touring,” Shelton says of his time since NewFound Road. “I played some solo dates, I toured some with a band. I started another band called the Surly Gentlemen. I host a weekly podcast; for the last year and a half, it’s heard all over the world. I’ve got multiple projects going on at once, so I stay pretty busy.”

“I’ve slowed down from the road,” he adds. “I mean, I think that was the crux of NewFound Road coming off the road anyway, we were all sick of being gone 150-200 days a year.”

Shelton’s solo material, and his new band, both sound somewhat reminiscent of NewFound Road, thanks in large part to his distinctive vocals.

“I sang lead on a lot of the material with NewFound Road,” he says, “so that part is going to sound similar. But I also did sort of a tribute album to Jackson Browne’s music; I love that era of rock, and that whole California-country sound, I’m just a huge fan of. And it wasn’t bluegrass at all, it was very much the California-country sound. It was pop-rock country from the ‘70s, and definitely not an acoustic record. But the new band that I have, the Surly Gentlemen, is an acoustic trio, so it’s similar in the sense that it’s acoustic and similar in the sense that I sing lead.”

“Bluegrass music tends to have loyal audiences, for the most part,” Shelton says when asked about the secret behind NewFound Road’s continued success. “We had some success with original and/or new material, so I think all that stuff helped us, and I never stopped touring, so I think that also helps it as well.”

Advance tickets for the NewFound Road reunion show are available through the Plaza Theatre box office or online at eventbrite.com. The show starts at 7 p.m. and admission is $15 in advance or $20 at the door.

“There won’t be any new material,” Shelton says of the show’s set list. “It will be what people want to hear from NewFound Road; it will be some stuff from the early days, and some stuff from the end.”

“There’s a lot of music in there, that’s for sure,” he says. “We had six recordings of the band and toured for thirteen years, so there’s a lot to choose from.”

NewFound Road will appear with opening act The Repeating Arms on Saturday, January 27 at the P  laza Theater, 33 South Main Street in Miamisburg. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. More information can be found online at TimSheltonMusic.net, MyPlazaTheatre.com, or EventBrite.com.

 

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Reach DCP freelance writer Matt Clevenger at MattClevenger@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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