Grammy award winning mandolin master Mike Compton, and prize winning guitarist and songwriter Joe Newberry, just released a live album of 12 traditional, old-time, and bluegrass ballads and instrumental pieces on January 27, 2013. There is knowing bluegrass and then, there is Knowing bluegrass. This is true bluegrass by two artists that definitely know bluegrass music.
In their 2012 debut album, LIVE, Mike Compton and Joe Newberry mine one of the more neglected segments of country music history, that period during the '30s and '40's when brother duet music was transforming into bluegrass. These two masters of the bedrock of old time music collaborate with a vision that's both modern and ageless. Few are better equipped for the task with Newberry able to replicate the under-appreciated power of country rhythm guitar styles and open back banjo, and then mix in Compton's master of the Monroe style of mandolin with 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---all 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.
This cd was recorded LIVE at Brandywine Friends in Newark, Delaware, this past February, 2012, using one microphone.
"This recording really captures vintage bluegrass tone. Compton and Newberry tear up the music with nuance and skill..."
- Dan Beimborn, Owner/Webmaster, Mandolin Archive
"Mike is one of the finest in the original style of the Mandolin and Joe can make the songs work in a way that is unique, entertaining and soulful. Put the two together in a live situation and the world becomes a better place! This album puts all the elements together to create a new experience to an older time"
- Bob Cherry, Cybergrass
"Joe Newberry is one of my favorite songwriters and interpreters of the old songs. Mike Compton's playing is part of my musical DNA. My earliest infatuation was with The Nashville Bluegrass Band and his mandolin rang out in my head as I tried to figure out how to make music with other pickers. When I learned two of my favorites had formed a duo I was very excited, but still not prepared for how good it would be. Mike Compton and Joe Newberry make music together. Lots of people play together, but few are able to make music. With only two voices and two instruments they can break your heart with one song and make you want to shout with joy on the next. Newly written songs sound ancient and their choice of covers seem somehow new. Their LIVE 2012 album is a must for lovers of real music."
- Leigh Gibson, The Gibson Brothers
"An absolutely brilliant performance captured live, a reminder of just how much great music can be made by two musicians. Their rendering of Evening Prayer Blues is worth the price of the recording alone."
- Scott Tichenor, Mandolin Cafe
"Mike Compton and Joe Newberry -- that's a powerful combination! There's a lot of studying behind the music here, a lot of repeated listening to scratchy records and hissy tapes, a lot of working on licks over and over to get them just right, and a lot of figuring out how to put them together in combinations that have never been heard before, and yet sound -- and fee--just exactly right, just like what's on those old records and tapes. But the beauty of this music is that, deeply informed and knowledgable as it is, it never feels pedantic; rather, it's as alive and in the moment as anything you're going to hear. Mike and Joe are good enough that they could probably get pretty comfortable in the cold confines of a studio, but they're also smart enough to know that the risk of a missed note here and there is more than offset by the spirit and stimulation of a live recording--and sure enough, this one's a dandy."
- Jon Weisberger