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    Town Mountain on Fire After Grand Ole Opry & Ryman Auditorium Debuts

    Touring with, Southern Crescent, Produced by Dirk Powell

    ASHEVILLE, NC — Raw, soulful, and with plenty of swagger, Town Mountain has earned raves for their hard-driving sound, their in-house songwriting and the honky-tonk edge that permeates their exhilarating live performances, whether in a packed club or at a sold-out festival. The hearty base of Town Mountain’s music is the bluegrass triumvirate of Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. It’s what else goes into the mix that brings it all to life both on stage and on record and reflects the group’s wide-ranging influences – from the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia and the ethereal lyrics of Robert Hunter, to the honest, vintage country of Willie, Waylon and Merle.
    Town Mountain features guitarist and vocalist Robert Greer, banjoist Jesse Langlais, mandolinist Phil Barker, fiddler Jack Devereux, and Zach Smith on bass. The Bend Bulletin’s Brian McElhiney says Town Mountain, “has serious country and rock ’n’ roll DNA.”

    They released their 5th studio album, Southern Crescent, on April 1, 2016 on LoHi Records and toured throughout the year with it. Produced and engineered by GRAMMY winner Dirk Powell, Southern Crescent was recorded in Powell’s studio The Cypress House in south-central Louisiana town of Breaux Bridge. Since it’s release the band debuted on the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium stages in 2016 bringing their sound to new audiences. The critically acclaimed album debuted at #4 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart while staying for ten weeks on the Americana Music Association’s radio chart’s Top 40.

    This Asheville band killed it at the Ryman this summer [2016] opening up the bluegrass series and they put out this stellar collection of original songs that asserts them as the hippest, bluest traditional bluegrass band of their generation. In an era of bluegrass with manners, they cut with a serrated edge,” exclaims Nashville’s Roots Radio’s Craig Havighurst in his list of “Essential Americana Albums We Loved in 2016.” Town Mountain returned to the Grand Ole Opry in July 2017! 

    Town Mountain has released five studio albums including their most recent, Southern Crescent (LoHi Records 2016) which was recorded in a decidedly old-school way, live, with minimal fixes and overdubs, with all the musicians in the same room and no noise-reducing baffling between them. The album’s “Songs of escape (‘Ain’t Gonna Worry Me’), reunion (‘Comin’ Back to You’), alienation (‘House with No Windows’), rambling (‘Wildbird’), and gambling (‘Arkansas Gambler’) present a panorama of sentiments and situations adding heft to the bluegrass canon,” according to Raleigh News & Observer’s Jack Bernhardt.

    Other efforts include Leave The Bottle (Pinecastle Records 2012), Steady Operator (Pinecastle Records 2011), and Heroes & Heretics (October 2008). They also independently released a LIVE album (2014 from a show at Isis Music Hall in Asheville) as well as a two-song EP (2015) of Grateful Dead tunes called The Dead Sessions. Their debut album (June 2008) is entitled Original Bluegrass and Roots Country and KSUT/Durango Telegraph’s Chris Aaland writes, “No critic has coined a better phrase to describe their sound.”

    While the members have taken the road less traveled when it comes to the mainstream or traditional purists, they’ve been dubbed as “The Taco Stand Troubadours” by Aaland (due to their frequent stops at such establishments) and he calls them “one of those bands that has paid its dues and won over the Durango audience through the years, much like the Gourds and Leftover Salmon.

    In 2016 they performed opening shows with Railroad Earth, Peter Rowan, Hard Working Americans, Greensky Bluegrass, Yonder Mountain String Band, Hackensaw Boys, and Jim Lauderdale adding to previous years’ performances with Ralph Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys, The Del McCoury Band, The Seldom Scene, The Infamous Stringdusters, The Steep Canyon Rangers among others.

    What has become one of the group’s more memorable live performance songs is their cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire,” which they first recorded in 2008’s Heroes & Heretics, with Greer’s distinctive Southern drawl at the forefront. The track has reached over 2.6 million listens on Spotify and garnered over 1 million views on a YouTube video posted in 2012. The Atlantic’s Matt Vasilogambros writes, “Bruce Springsteen is a natural fit for bluegrass… Even the Boss’s earlier music had hints of folk influences. Just listen to “I’m On Fire”… I keep turning to one cover, which I admittedly listen to more often than the original. It’s from Town Mountain… They dropped the synthesizer, added a banjo, a fiddle, and another singer for harmony, and made a gem.”

    Another fan favorite is their Jimmy Martin-esque original “Lawdog,” penned by Barker in 2012, which music  journalist Juli Thanki instantly called an “unearthed classic” when the album was released. They recorded a live version of the song at WAMU’s Bluegrass Country Radio in 2013 which has over 110,000 views and continues to be a barn burner to this day with the entire crowd singing along as barker sings, “I make my livin driving, I’m a bluegrass music man… Chasin the horizon, for another one night stand… I got a lot of miles to travel, and I’m runnin a little late…  And a no show gets me nothin, so don’t you get in my way. I got no time for ya lawdog…”

    “While it remains a bluegrass band in all things instrumentation and touring the bluegrass and festival circuit, it’s’ sound crosses into American roots and even outlaw country, perhaps as a result of the gritty, mournful tone of Greer’s vocals.” Durango’s KDUR radio’s DJ, Bryant Liggett says, “It is reminiscent of the 1970s truck-driving film sound, the perfect accompaniment to a car chase through the south á la ‘Smokey and the Bandit.’”

    Watch Town Mountain on WOUB’s Gladden House Sessions from the Nelsonville Music Festival → http://woub.org/2016/06/24/ 2016-gladden-house-sessions- town-mountain/

    Watch Town Mountain perform ‘Comin’ Back to You’ on The Bluegrass Situation’s Sitch Sessions → https://youtu.be/Ut4w6uJbAlo

    For more information, please visit TownMountain.net, facebook.com/TownMountain, twitter.com/TownMountain, and instagram.com/ townmountainbluegrass.

    TownMountain.netfacebook.com/TownMountaintwitter.com/TownMountain,

    Here’s a featured video from our friends over at Pickathon recorded in 2016.

     

    Kind things folks are saying about Town Mountain:

    “I’d put Town Mountain on my list of Five Bluegrass Bands You Must Know in 2016, because while the genre has forked and morphed in wonderful ways, these guys from Asheville have more Flatt & Scruggs and more Jimmy Martin in their sound than any young band I can think of. And when they do nod to other influences, they tend to be from parallels to the early bluegrass era, like Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins for example. It’s been more than a decade now since they announced their arrival with a win at the Rockygrass band competition. And they’ve honed a unique identity around the voice of Robert Greer, the banjo of Jesse Langlais, the mandolin and singing of Phil Barker and Bobby Britt’s fiddle.” –Craig Havighurst, Music City Roots

    “The ascension of Town Mountain as one of the festival’s [Festival of Bluegrass 2016] premiere acts was demonstrated in a set that emphasized the North Carolina’s quintet’s obvious strengths – specifically, a rugged ensemble charge (showcased at once during the show opening Tick on a Dog), ample stylistic dexterity (the honky tonk drive of Whiskey With Tears) and individual firepower (Greer’s joyous vocals, Phil Barker’s quick-witted mandolin picking).” —Walter Tunis, Lexington Herald Ledger

    “Produced by Dirk Powell, Southern Crescent is hard-charging, grits-and-gravy authentic, the kind of emotions on the strings of Bill Monroe and Flatts and Scruggs pioneered more than 60 years ago. But Town Mountain is no copy band. With Songs written by each band member, and instrumental and vocal originality, Town Mountain honors the Ancients while bringing a collective and generational identity to their art.” —Raleigh News & Observer, Jack Bernhardt  (Print Sunday Paper 3/27/16)

    “Bluegrass has been simmering and evolving since the beginning, and although some of the changes were not as apparent to many… There should be room for all spectrums of bluegrass, and Town Mountain is staking out its own little territory.” —Fervor Coulee, Donald Teplyske

    “Southern Crescent is a near-perfect balance of tradition and young, raw energy… They’ll hear a hundred years of southern musical culture bubbling up and finding a common point where North Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana meet as old friends. Town Mountain’s style and sonic footprint comes from a foundation of rhythm and groove that comes not from just loving the music (that’s too easy) but from living the music.” –Premier of the song “Wildbird” in Bluegrass Today, Brian Swenk

    “I have seen this band many times, and while there are a couple of bigger names out there, this Asheville group is the most exciting bluegrass band to come along in a long time” —No  Depression, Amos Perrine

    “The first time I heard TM I loved, respected, and enjoyed them. And I do now more than ever. They have stuck with their deep bluegrass roots but as they have with all of their releases they have grown and expanded. They sound like Carolina, and they carry that sound farther and farther with Southern Crescent, their latest gem.” –Jim Lauderdale

    “The past echoes through Town Mountain, clear through to the future. To bluegrass fans I’d say the genre is in good hands. But you will dig the rough edges too! They’re a shot of 100 proof bluegrass with a honky-tonk chaser!” —Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth)