Hot Day at the Zoo, a progressive “Newgrass” string band grown in Lowell, Ma are spreading their eclectic roots up and down the eastern seaboard and as far west as Colorado. Celebrating their 5th year together as a band in January '08, Jon Cumming (banjo, dobro, vocals), Michael Dion (guitar, harmonica, vocals,) and Jed Rosen (upright bass, vocals) released their sophomore EP, Long Way Home on November 18th. Darker and edgier than the wildly popular Cool As Tuesday, the new CD features five gritty, emotionally charged songs. Long Way Home is the first release on the band’s own independent record label INTA Records. The five song EP was self-written and self-produced in Lowell and features special guest mandolin player David Cleaves. “Gypsy Moon”, the album’s opener, is a song that encompasses and transcends the band’s love/hate relationship with Lowell. At the same time, the song is cleverly intertwined with Edgar Allen Poe’s gothic masterpiece “The Raven”. The result is a deep, melancholy blues number filled with angst, bitterness and despair yet laced with subtle undertones of hope and longing. The title track, “Long Way Home”, is an intelligently penned song that tells the story of opposition soldiers that meet at the end of the Civil War as they journey back home. “Lost” is a somewhat autobiographical travel song inspired by the city of Lowell and the life of Lowell’s own poet laureate Jack Keroauc, as seen through the eyes of an old man. “Outside Lookin’ In” is a sing-along ballad that speaks of naive regrets, harsh self-examination and perseverance in the face of life’s many trials. “Wheel” tells us a tale of the unrelenting turbulence of life on the road, obstacles that are faced, and challenges overcome.