Old McDonald video coming soon from Newton & Thomas

Reborn - Mark Newton & Steve ThomasMark Newton & Steve Thomas’ debut album, Reborn, was released April 30 on Pinecastle, and the first single, Old McDonald Sold The Farm, has been getting strong airplay from bluegrass radio. It debuted on our Bluegrass Today Weekly Airplay Chart two weeks ago at #15.

The song, by Kenny Boudreau, Darryl Landry and Ryan Roberts, combines the image of the familiar nursery rhyme with the story of farmer forced to sell his family property when hard times and high costs put him out of business.

Now Mark and Steve are finishing work on a music video, set to premiere next week at their CD release party at Swinging Doors Saloon in Nashville. We caught up with Mark yesterday, and he shared some thoughts about the song and the video, along with some details about next week’s CD release event.

Old McDonald Sold The Farm was pitched to Steve Thomas in September by Darryl Landry at last years IBMA here in Nashville.

Steve and I had committed to working together in March of 2012. During that time we where negotiating with Pinecastle Records, and at the end of the week at IBMA we had a verbal agreement in place to record. So, in October we started the process of listening to material.

The first song Steve brought to my attention was Old McDonald Sold The Farm. We both loved the song because of the message, but also because of the old nursery rhyme we had all grown up with. We felt it had all the right things to be a possible hit song. We knew that would be the first single release, and then we started talking about shooting a video of the song and how it would make a cool video.


We are extremely high on this song, and believe that it will touch the hearts of farmers in the US and Canada, folks in rural areas, and at all levels throughout the nation. It has a seriousness about it and the struggle  of the American farmer written into the lyrics, but is lighthearted at the same time.

Steve and I feel that this song sends the right message to America about the plight of the American farmer, and it’s our hope that this video will hit home with a lot of people, and send a fun but yet underlying message of the farmers struggle.”

Mark told us that the video focuses primarily on he and Steve singing, while also following the storyline of the song, where Old McDonald has to sell the farm that had been passed down to him through several generations. Coming in at just over two and half minutes, there were a lot of scenes to squeeze in.

Video shoot for Old McDonald Sold The Farm with Mark Newton and Steve Thomas - photo by Denise Fussell, Fussell Graphics“We have a actor playing the role of Old McDonald that will be in quite a few of the scenes.

There are chickens, horses and cows, barns, tractors, and dogs that where included in the scenes. The chorus speaks to all the neighbors hearts are broken to see Old McDonald tearing down the barn so we shot a neighbor scene where the neighbors are gathering to send Old McDonald off in good genuine way where they hate to see him go.

That scene was a shot on the front porch of the farm house with 20 or so people, and we had a 5-piece band with Steve and I along with Molly Cherryholmes on fiddle, Sim Daley on banjo and our bass player Matt Wallace.

The crowd scene was a varied age group from toddler’s to older folks.”

I have it on good authority that Terry Herd, Sales Manager for Bluegrass Today, was involved in the crowd shot. We’ll have to wait until next week to see if his bit makes the cut.

Newton said that he researched a number of video firms over the past few months, and ended up being referred to Bell-Jarboe Films, who they ultimately chose for this project.

Video shoot for Old McDonald Sold The Farm with Mark Newton and Steve Thomas - photo by Denise Fussell, Fussell Graphics“After meeting several times we agreed to move forward with the shoot. The director/producer is a gentleman named HL Jarboe, but is referred to as Jarboe.

Jarboe has had a lot of success in the video industry and is very talented when it comes to the creative eye, lighting and putting together a storyline. His work has been seen on CMT, TCM, GAC and other video outlets.

The camera operator is Joseph Spence, who has quite a bit of experience as well. Joseph Spence along with Jarboe will do the offline editing, and Storyville Post will do the Close-Captioning/Mastering. The shoot also consisted of 3 crew members that consisted of make-up/wardrope/stylist, Key Grip/Gaffer/Talent and craft service.

We shot at two different locations in the Liepers Fofk, TN area: Boyd Mill Farm and Blazer Hill Farm.”

Here is a sneak peek at the video, with a quick look behind the scenes.


Mark says that everyone is invited to attend the first showing next week, though it would help if you will be in Nashville.

“The World Premier will be at our record release party at Swinging Doors Saloon on Wednesday, May 15th from 5:00-7:00 p.m. (CST). It’s free to the public, but we’ve also invited a lot of industry folks. It will be a meet and greet from 5:00-6:30, and we’ll show the video then.

Steve and I will perform live from 6:30-7:00 and do songs from the CD with a few surprise guests. The video will be pitched to CMT, GAC, TCM after the 15th and posted to YouTube as well.”

You can find more details about Newton and Thomas online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.