Country Music is in awful shape and has been since the 1980s when something curious happened. Neo-Conservatives found a way to cause a backlash against the genre’s innovators and rebels, with the result being a gutting of everything good the genre ever accomplished. Except for cross-over artists (Garth Brooks) and those who were simply considered too subversive (The Dixie Chicks) that they had to be targeted, few of the today’s artists would have made it in the peak days of the genre. David Newbould is one who might.

In his new concert release The Long Way Home, Newbould plays an 11-song set that is richer, more natural, more sincere, less flashy and more realistic than most work in the genre for a long time. Songs include:

1) Goldmines
2) It Can Always Be Worse
3) Love In Your Heart
4) Put The Breaks On Us
5) Old Friend
6) Dakota
7) Nobody Loves Me Like You Do
8) Big Red Sun
9) Something To Lose
10) See You On The Other Side
11) Come What May
12) Lost And Found (bonus track)
13) Salvation (bonus track)
14) Soul Is Inflamed (bonus track)

Though none of the songs in particular stuck with me and I am not the biggest fan of the genre, I was pleasantly surprised how consistent, smooth and open the concert was overall. I don’t know what the future holds for Newbould or if I will like his work in the long run, but at least for now, he is a contender for the next major voice in the genre and that makes this set an interesting release in a sea of bad ones.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image is on the soft side usually, with slight aliasing errors and detail issues, but it is not a bad shoot overall. The Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 mixes are not bad, but the 5.1 is better, yet they have some compression and sonic limits; the compression extending to the PCM 2.0 16/44.1 Stereo on the CD. Extras include the CD if you count it, a bio, bonus song (Lost & Found), The Other Side behind the scenes piece and a behind the scenes/interview piece called The Band on the DVD.

– Nicholas Sheffo

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