On Gone Away With A Friend, Frank Newsome sings a more than four-century-long American tradition into the present. His arresting style—the ancient lined-out hymn singing of the Old Regular Baptists from the borderlands of Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia—is a direct sonic ancestor to genres like old-time, Bluegrass, and gospel. In fact, Bluegrass master Ralph Stanley grew up hearing this once-common, unhurried style; Stanley and Newsome were good friends and spent time singing together. Originally from Pike County, KY, Newsome has preached at the Little David Church in Haysi, VA since 1972, singing these songs from what is the oldest, English-language religious music tradition passed down orally in America. This recording, captured over one evening in 2006 in the cozy sanctuary of Newsome’s church, features nine old songs and two contemporary numbers, all sung in the traditional, unaccompanied style. Since the original recording was made, Newsome has been recognized widely for his singular voice; in 2011 he was named an NEA National Heritage Fellow, the country's highest honor for traditional artists. To listen closely to Newsome’s singing on this sparse, captivating album is to dip your toe into the placid headwaters of the great stream of American music.