Mark Newton has assembled an impressive cast of female bluegrassers in his new project. The Virginia singer brings in a mix of better-known and lesser-known distaff vocalists to add harmonies and swap verses on 12 bluegrass and gospel numbers, plus a grand finale written by Dixie Hall featuring husband Tom T. and 11 women singers.
It's as much of a tribute to Newton's reputation that singers of the caliber of Rhonda Vincent, Claire Lynch, Lynn Morris and the Whites were willing to add their considerable talents. A side benefit is a heightened profile for up-and-coming singers deserving wider recognition like Barb and Kim Fox, Valerie Smith and Gina Britt. A more significant sign of the changing times is that instrumentalists Missy Raines and Kristen Scott anchor a powerful back-up band that also includes Tony Rice and Ronnie Stewart.
While Newton's main role may be as coordinator, he more than holds his own with the fine singers to whom he pays tribute.