Ned Farr & The Good Red Road Savor Life’s Fleeting Moments On New Album ‘The Master Plan’

Not everyone longs for commercial success in the music industry.

Some artists fall in love with making music but have no interest in scoring a big fat record deal or achieving fame, and this was the case for a number emerging rock groups in early ‘90s New York City. Ned Farr and The Good Red Road is one of those groups.

Consisting of Ned Farr (lead vox, guitar, keys), Jim Olbrys (lead guitar), Cenovia Cummins (violin, piano, mandolin), Evan Richey (cello), Jon Ossman (bass), and Joe Casalino (drums, percussion), the contemporary Americana band’s focus was solely on making music and performing in the city’s booming club scene—not on selling records.

They released two well-received albums in the 90s, and fifteen years after their last release, the band reunited for their third album in 2014. And on September 8th, they released their new record, The Master Plan, which was the result of the universal desire to connect during the pandemic.

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While a chunk of the writing and production process was done somewhat virtually due to circumstance, the album is rooted in human connection, growth through the decades, and making the best of your time while you have it.

“The Master Plan”

The opening and title track of the album is a light, catchy way to kick off the collection of songs to follow. Packed to the brim with nostalgia, this song addresses growing up and having a “master plan” to follow, despite the fact that we all have to deviate from the plan at some point or another, because life is not a straight line. Lyrics like “Pass or fail, this is the master plan” express the simple fact that regardless of what happens in our lives, we have to keep living them.

The album’s fifth track, “Memory Is a Boat at Sea,” serves as an ode to the beauty of memory and the power behind two simple words: “remember when.” The low-key instrumentals blend beautifully into the touching and relatable lyrics of the track, such as “Memory is a boat at sea / And every day it sails away from me.” We all want to hold onto precious memories, especially as time drifts away.

“She Just Goes”

The sun-soaked tune, “She Just Goes,” is packed with catchy 90s pop-rock charm and a delightful surprise of a fiddle, offering lyrics like, “She just smiled at me / Said she’d call me soon / And kissed me awkwardly / And vanished from my room.” The track effortlessly puts the listener into the scene of the song, and one can easily picture it being in 90s rom-com movie. The upbeat nature of the song drives its initial feeling of love and the excitement of a new relationship, but as the song progresses, we see the struggle of artistry versus financial success, and how that impacted the relationship. 

“Bury the Stone” is more relaxed and laid-back with more prominent piano play, setting the album up for its culmination. It focuses on knowing when to let go of the things that we carry with us, and lines like “Headlights are sweeping / Across the drive and then out of sight / And over the hill like a wave goodbye” make for beautiful imagery that pulls the listener in. Farr’s vocals continue to swoon the listener, and on this touching song in particular.

“Bury the Stone”

The album’s closing track, “The Gift,” is an epic 9-minute journey that takes its time — just like we should all do in this life — and urges the listener to do the same. The slow, dynamic production on this song reflects its meaning, which is to drink in every moment of the life you’re living, and to “make the best of your time before you get old.”

“The Gift” serves as a satisfying end to a powerful collection of songs, which drives home the sentiment of savoring the fleeting life you live, and taking stock in the love around you. It’s an age-old piece of wisdom, and with expertly crafted musicianship behind it, the message resonates with full force.

The Master Plan not only offers a collection of songs that’s easy on the ears, but warms the heart and serves as a strong reminder: life evolves as you get older, and will rarely go as planned.

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