Town Mountain: Grass With Swagger
The North Carolina band Town Mountain doesn't have to think twice when asked about their influences: they're "the Bluegrass triumvirate": Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and Bill Monroe.
And music critic Chris Aaland best sums up their aesthetic as "the Taco Stand Troubadours" because of their penchant for frequenting such roadside establishments. One of their most popular songs is named "Whiskey with Tears."
With that capsule description out of the way, what else you need to know about the Asheville, North Carolina, group is that they've got five albums out, the most recent ("Southern Crescent") recorded in a low-tech fashion: "...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." It debuted at #4 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart and occupied the Americana Music Association’s radio chart’s Top 40 for ten weeks.
On another note, the band's guitarist and vocalist Robert Greer, banjoist Jesse Langlais, mandolinist Phil Barker, fiddler Jack Devereux, and bass player Zach Smith create a sound that the Bend Bulletin’s Brian McElhiney says that Town Mountain, “has serious country and rock ’n’ roll DNA.”
One of many critic/reviewer fans (Nashville’s Roots Radio’s Craig Havighurst in his list of “Essential Americana Albums We Loved in 2016") has noted “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.”
But you can check out their edge for yourself at this year's Beartrap: regardless of whether you have to go up or down your mountain to get to town.