The Upshot: Asheville, North Carolina, bluegrass maestros provide one heck of a hootenanny.
BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Town Mountain trades on tradition, but their energized efforts make them more than simply a bluegrass band of the back porch variety. Their latest effort, aptly titled #Southern Crescent#, turns those vintage trappings into a kind of modern revelry, bringing in elements of not only bluegrass, but rockabilly, Blues, country and seminal rock ‘n; roll. It’s a surprisingly harmonious mix, but given the band’s raucous revelry and celebratory stance, there’s no fissures or seams in evidence at any point throughout. The band — Phil Barker (vocals, mandolin), Jesse Langlais (vocals, banjo), Bobby Britt (fiddle) and Robert Greer (vocals, guitar) — are obviously earnest in that endeavor, but the reverence is implied as opposed to forced, given the general zest which they invest in their instrumental trappings.
On songs such as “St. Augustine,” “Long Time Comin’” “I Miss the Night,” “Comin’ Back to You,” and “Leroy’s Reel,” the homegrown sentiments are evident in abundance, with an essential authenticity dictating the direction. There’s the occasional respite — “House with No Windows” being the most obvious example — but for the most part Town Mountain approaches their material with both flourish and finesses. Producer Dirk Powell encourages this free reign, and 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.
DOWNLOAD: “St. Augustine,” “Long Time Comin’” “I Miss the Night”