Town Mountain on Fire After Grand Ole Opry & Ryman Auditorium Debuts
New Album In The Works For 2018 – Recorded at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC
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 first and second generation of bluegrass spiced with country, old school rock ‘n’ roll, and boogie-woogie. 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.
The Bend Bulletin’s Brian McElhiney says Town Mountain, “has serious country and rock ’n’ roll DNA.” Town Mountain features guitarist and vocalist Robert Greer, banjoist Jesse Langlais, mandolinist Phil Barker, fiddler Bobby Britt, and Zach Smith on bass.
Town Mountain is working on their 6th studio album and was recently recording in Echo Mountain Studios with Producer Caleb Klauder. The forthcoming album will be full of new original material and released later in the year. They are also excited to be the host of the 2018 MerleFest Midnight Jam and will be performing at Joe Val Bluegrass Festival and John Hartford Memorial Festival among others in 2018.
Their 5th studio album, Southern Crescent, came out April 1, 2016 on LoHi Records. 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 Top 40.
“This Asheville band killed it at the Ryman this summer  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!
Other albums 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.
They have performed opening shows with Railroad Earth, Peter Rowan, Hard Working Americans, Greensky Bluegrass, Yonder Mountain String Band, Hackensaw Boys, Ralph Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys, The Del McCoury Band, The Seldom Scene, The Infamous Stringdusters, Bobby Hicks, The Steep Canyon Rangers, and Jim Lauderdale 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 3.3 million listens on Spotify. 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 125,000 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.’”
More kind words about Town Mountain and Southern Crescent:
“Southern Crescent is seductive, mixing outstanding playing with a range of vocal styles. Many of the vocals mine the high-lonesome vein of a band like the Osborne Brothers or The Gibson Brothers. But, there is an earthiness to the vocals, which convey heart, without invoking pathos.” —Country Standard Time, Fred Smith
“‘Ain’t Gonna Worry Me’ has a Chris Stapleton and Steeldrivers soulful/gritty vibe to it, and damn it’s as good if not better. A short fuse of fiddles lights up ‘Comin’ Back To You,’ exploding it into the hillbilly side of the Sun, and Jerry Lee Lewis-style rock ‘n’ roll heaven.” —Tahoe Onstage, Tom Clark
“Further listening reveals Southern Crescent, as a dissection of string music, a cross examination of the history of rural American music that has existed up and down the Eastern Seaboard and Appalachia, a mix of old time, country and early Cajun music all falling under the bluegrass umbrella of craft musicianship and raw lyrical emotion.” –Bryant Liggett, DGO Magazine, KDUR station manager
“Recorded live in the studio, the album’s vibe sounds natural and loose, while the musicianship remains tight and precise. Banjo, mandolin and fiddle float through the songs, interlocking rhythmically and melodically, while the shared vocal duties reflect past greats like Del McCoury. This is bluegrass done right from a band that’s still beneath the average listener’s radar.” —The Barn (Chicago)
“Southern Crescent (LoHi Records) by Town Mountain is fast-faster-fastest bluegrass that takes full advantage of the genre’s history but adds a honky-tonk chaser, a jam-band aesthetic and the kind of stringed chops you’d expect from Alison Krauss, Earl Scruggs or Ralph Stanley.” –Aquarian Weekly’s Rant N Roll, Mike Greenblatt
“The convergence of freewheeling harmonies, and their picking, plucking and strumming lends itself to both passion and purpose. With bluegrass reclaiming its populist precepts of late, Southern Crescent boasts all the needed elements to provide their listeners one heck of a hootenanny.” —Elmore Magazine, Lee Zimmerman
“I didn’t really think that Boston was a bluegrass kind of town but damn if Town Mountain didn’t just prove me wrong. They passed through town a few weeks ago and filled the room with a joyful noise, not to mention a jubilant crowd.” —Twangville, Mayer Danzig
“Asheville’s Town Mountain is one of the most entertaining bluegrass / string band groups working today and their Southern Crescent features the band at the top of their game. Their originals are true to the spirit of bluegrass. But at the same time they aren’t that wall-of-sound-loud-as-you-can-get bluegrass either. Their music keeps the vocals at the center and they know how to tell stories in song. It makes their sound more human, more real, more heartfelt than you get from a lot of other bands in the genre. Even if you think bluegrass isn’t for you, you owe it to yourself to give Town Mountain’s Southern Crescent a try.” —Americana Music Show, Calvin Powers
“Bluegrass is easily the most active genre in 2016 as changes and traditions draw lines in the sound. Town Mountain have an ability for presenting the past and the future in an easy playing the blends without breaking.” —Danny McCloskey, The Alternate Room
“On Southern Crescent, there’s little fuss and pretension, as each track has a lived-in and live feel, with the band members coalescing around the song in an almost preordained way. There is as much outlaw country and Western swing to these songs as bluegrass, despite the instrumentation. As traditional and even-keeled as Town Mountain is, no other band sounds quite the same.” —Mountain Xpress, Kyle Petersen
“Travel, distance, loneliness and love – Town Mountain illuminates them all with a passion and raw energy that makes Southern Crescent an oh so satisfying listen that you’ll return to again and again.” —The Daily Country, Tara Joan
“The standout, though, is ‘Wildbird,’ a classic highway song about curing a restless mind with road miles; perfect for a bluegrass band that sounds pretty comfortable getting outside of its comfort zone.” —Blue Ridge Outdoors, Jedd Ferris
“There’s a new level of diversity in sounds and styles, which is to say that the honky-tonk flavor that’s long been the quintet’s stock-in-trade is being supplemented with more lyrically and musically sophisticated material that nevertheless keeps the energy high.” —The Nashville Scene, Jon Weisberger
“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)