Town Mountain‘s new album, Southern Crescent, will be out on April Fools’ Day 2016 on Todd Snider’s new record label, Lo Hi. We previously featured this IBMA Award winning band just prior to the release of Leave the Bottle. When we talked for this podcast at Revelator Coffee in Nashville during AmericanaFest, the band had not publicly announced the album and were shopping it around. Southern Crescent reflects the band’s loose, dance-able music, more reflective of their festival and club sets that a staid performing arts center straight-bluegrass set. I’m not sure if the Southern Crescent still runs from Atlanta to Boston like my relatives talked about taking to go “visit culture” in the Northeast, but I’m fairly sure it still runs down to New Orleans, where a more exhilarating culture has endured — an apt analogy for this album.
Town Mountain & Lead Vocalist Robert Greer
Win Two IBMA Momentum Awards
Performance, Vocalist (Momentum Awards): Robert Greer
Performance, Band (Momentum Awards): Town Mountain
From their press release:
ASHEVILLE, NC– Congratulations to Town Mountain and their lead vocalist Robert Greer on winning 2013 IBMA Momentum Awards. Robert Greer takes home the Momentum Award for “Vocalist of the Year” and Town Mountain takes the honor for “Band of the Year.” The awards cap off a year of fantastic growth for the band which began with the release of their sophomore Pinecastle album, Leave the Bottle.
Based in Asheville, NC, Town Mountain is Robert Greer on vocals and guitar, Jesse Langlais on banjo and vocals, Phil Barker on mandolin and vocals, Bobby Britt on fiddle, and Jake Hopping on upright bass.
One listen to their instantly memorable songs, and it’s plain to see why Grammy-winner Mike Bub would align with the group to produce Leave the Bottle as well as Steady Operator . Leave the Bottle effortlessly covers a wide array of styles in the string band spectrum featuring the stellar in-house songwriting that has become the band’s trademark. There’s the barroom swagger and honky tonk edge of tracks like “Up the Ladder” and the title track “Leave the Bottle”, the Jimmy Martin style bounce and confidence of “Lawdog” and “Lookin’ in the Mirror”, the Irish flavor of Bobby Britt’s “Four Miles”, and the laid back John Hartford style groove of “Greenbud on the Flower” among others. But no matter the style, the band’s delivery gives every tune a true and honest feel. The album went on to be listed as #6 Best Bluegrass Album of 2012 by Pop Matters, and WNCW listeners voted it #19 in the Top 100 albums of 2012. They will be working on a new album in the winter of 2014. Stay tuned to their website for more details.
“I’m not sure what the definition of bluegrass would be in words alone, but if that definition was set to music, it would probably sound something like Town Mountain’s Leave the Bottle… I could go on,” says Bluegrass Today’s David Morris, “There are no duds, and no filler songs on this project. But you get the point. This, my friends, is how bluegrass is supposed to sound.”
More information as well as their complete tour schedule and updates from the road are available at at TownMountain.net and facebook.com/TownMountain.
The Momentum Awards focus on artists and business people who are in the early years of their careers in bluegrass music. Five artists will receive performance awards, while three industry awards will go to key contributors in the bluegrass business. The Momentum Awards are not to be confused with the long-standing IBMA Awards, which are the gold standard for peer-recognized excellence in bluegrass music. The Momentum Awards will acknowledge something undeniable about bluegrass music—that many of its most dynamic artists and entrepreneurs are young or relatively new to the genre, and there are perhaps more artists playing bluegrass or bluegrass-related music than at any time in decades. IBMA looks forward to recognizing the best of them.
IBMA Momentum Awards are intended to encourage professionalism in bluegrass music among every generation. For more info, please visit the IBMA website at www.ibma.org.
Town Mountain brings the bluegrass-infused Asheville, North Carolina, music scene into its creative process. In a place where open and invitational bluegrass jams abound, there is little room for slackers, but there is always room for newbies. For a picker who really wants to learn to play from the best, jump in and try to keep up. For the members of the band, they do not join forces with either “side” of the bluegrass camps, and instead write music that appeals to the traditionalist while reflecting what is new and forward-thinking. Town Mountain are Big Tent pickers.
While individuals like Don Reno, Doc Watson, and Earl Scruggs who hailed from the regions made names for themselves, the proliferation of bluegrass jams has spawned many newer players and bands. Steep Canyon Rangers have made international headlines since 2009 when they joined Steve Martin as his “official back-up band,” but many other old-time and bluegrass peers, like Town Mountain, Red June, Balsam Range, and Dehlia Low, bring fresh ideas to the saturated Western North Carolina sounds. Jesse Langlais of Town Mountain sought out this rich musical haven, to hone his skills and make music his life.
With their most recent studio record, Leave the Bottle, Town Mountain keeps their recordings close to their live sound, while incorporating the process as part of the art. For them, this yields an “80% live” album. The band share writing responsibilities, not as a group, but as individuals who then bring some of their songs to the Town Mountain project. By allowing for the freedom to pursue solo projects and other permutations, Town Mountain never gets stale for its members, rather, it’s a refreshing return to a product that is more than the sum of its parts. townmountain.netYour purchase of these songs supports the musicians and this radio show:
- Town Mountain Leave The Bottle “Lawdog,” “Four Miles,” “You Weighed Heavy on My Mind”
- Steep Canyon Rangers Nobody Knows You [+Digital Booklet] “Knob Creek” (good excuse to include one of their current tunes)
- Steep Canyon Rangers One Dime At A Time “Ghost of Norma Jean” (also produced by Mike Bub, upon SCR’s recommendation, Town Mountain chose to work w/ Bub)
- Old and in the Way Breakdown “Jerry’s Breakdown” (yes, That Jerry Garcia)
- Flatt and Scruggs 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best Of Flatt & Scruggs “Bending the Strings”
- The Deadly Gentlemen Carry Me to Home “Sober Cure” (Sam Grisman is in this band, and another of Greg Liszt’s bands)
- Tim O’Brien Chicken & Egg “Sinner” (chosen because Mike Bub plays bass on this album, and Tim O’Brien is awesome)
- Crooked Still “New Railroad” Putumayo Presents Bluegrass (the compilation that includes Town Mountain, as well