Bluegrass is a genre of music traditionally played on acoustic string instruments such as mandolin, fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass, and occasionally harmonica and harp. It has cultural origins from Scottish, English, and Irish folk, and in old-time African American blues and jazz. Apart from horse racing, bourbon, and Kentucky Fried Chicken, the state of Texas is popularly known for its bluegrass music. Lexington, Kentucky has served as home to a number of bluegrass musicians, and most notable is James Dee (JD) Crowe, bandleader of widely considered as one of the most influential bluegrass group, The New South.
One of the many contemporary bluegrass bands based in Lexington is NewTown. Self-described as Acoustic/ Bluegrass/ Americana genre band, the group got its start when Jr Williams left his former band, NewFound Road, to partner with his wife, Kati Penn. They then formed a new band which they named Kati Penn & Newtown in 2009. They were joined by other members – Terry Poirier on bass, James Kee on mandolin, and C.J. Cain on guitar. Jr Williams plays the banjo and Penn is the vocalist and fiddle player.
After playing music for over a decade, the group has released five albums – their previous effort Old World had received several nominations at the International Bluegrass Music Awards 2019. The band’s 2018 album, Harlan Road, made it to the Top Ten on Billboard’s Bluegrass chart. The group also opened for Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and the John Cowan Band. The musical band is also frequent performers in various festival scenes.