Town Mountain, Jon Stickley

Town Mountain

Jon Stickley

Thu · January 18, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$15.00 - $18.00

Town Mountain
Town Mountain
Raw, soulful & with plenty of swagger, Town Mountain releases 5th album, Southern Crescent, on April 1, 2016 on LoHi Records

Produced by Dirk Powell at his Cypress House studio in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Go Behind The Scenes with Town Mountain In "The Making of Southern Crescent" → https://youtu.be/VZD7avVtI4U


ASHEVILLE -- In much the same way that iconic southern dishes such as Louisiana gumbo or Brunswick stew can include any number of flavorful ingredients, so too does bluegrass music rely on a recipe that can vary wildly, depending on who's doing the cooking. For Asheville, North Carolina-based bluegrass band Town Mountain, the key ingredient of the musical stew that is their career-defining fifth album, Southern Crescent, is the same confident – yet entirely embraceable – swagger that has distinguished the group since they first formed in 2005. The new album is due out on April 1, 2016 on LoHi Records.

With an insatiable musical hunger, the members of Town Mountain (Robert Greer on vocals and guitar, Jesse Langlais on banjo and vocals, Bobby Britt on fiddle, Phil Barker on mandolin and vocals, and Nick DiSebastian* on bass) made their way to the little south-central Louisiana town of Breaux Bridge, where they recorded their most cohesive, most satisfying album to date. Produced by legendary GRAMMY-winning musician (and Louisiana transplant) Dirk Powell at his Cypress House studio, with low-swooping live oak trees and the picturesque Bayou Teche nearby, Southern Crescent is nothing less than a musical tour-de-force. Adam Chaffins* plays bass in the touring outfit.

Southern Crescent 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 result: a raw, soulful album that prompted iconic singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale to enthuse in the liner notes, "The first time I heard Town Mountain 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."

In spite of not having worked with Powell as their producer before, singer-songwriter Robert Greer says he walked away from the experience "thinking this is how I want to record every record from this point on." It probably didn't hurt that Powell's mom, who lives next door to the studio, was keeping the group supplied with coffee and homemade chocolate chip cookies.

The new album is being released on LoHi Records. Based in Greensboro, N.C., the label is a partnership formed by entrepreneur and marketing veteran Jim Brooks with singer/songwriter and record producer Todd Snider, record producer Tim Carbone (who also plays fiddle in newgrass band Railroad Earth) and Chad Staehly from Gold Mountain Entertainment in Nashville.

Each of Town Mountain's members contributed songs to Southern Crescent, with Barker, Langlais and Greer the chief writers in the band. A democratic process determines what they'll record, but the greatest factor, especially on the new record, is audience reaction, which is basically what led to release of the band's first official live album, Town Mountain: Live At The Isis, in 2014. "We've gone into the studio before with new stuff but every tune on this record had been road-tested," says Greer. "We go in to the recording situation and we have our tunes arranged already because we've been playing them on stage. That's a contributing factor to successfully being able to record them live, because we're used to doing them night after night."

From the boogie-woogie piano of Jerry Lee Lewis that inspired the delightful (and danceable) "Coming Back to You," to Greer's cleverly penned and fast-paced "Tick on a Dog," which offers a taste of another major bluegrass influence, Jimmy Martin, Southern Crescent is tailor-made to keep live audiences on their feet, but it'll also keep those who think they can easily peg Town Mountain on their toes. "With live music, anything can happen," Greer acknowledges. "It's not supposed to be perfect but does it have soul!"

The music, perhaps, should also come with a road map. As Langlais explains, "A lot of the material is based around traveling. You start to peel back the lyrics of the songs and see that a lot of the material is about being out on the road and the experiences – positive or negative – that we may have living the lifestyle."

Just as the guys find a wealth of musical inspiration in each other, there's admittedly a little frustration that comes from being in a band with several other gifted songwriters at the same time. As Langlais explains, "You want to make sure you're up there and everybody else is feeling the same about you. It's good to have multiple writers in the band because it gives your audience more variety."

That variety is indeed part of what drives Southern Crescent, which opens with Britt's delightfully dizzying fiddle work on "St. Augustine," and showcases Greer's hard-country vocals on "House With No Windows" and on the freewheeling composition "Ain't Gonna Worry Me," (penned by Barker). The group members' palpable chemistry (and individual artistry) are displayed throughout such instantly memorable tracks as "Wildbird," (Barker) and "I Miss the Night," which Langlais penned (with Mark Bumgarner) after experiencing 22 hours of daylight during Alaska's summer solstice.

"Bands are constantly trying to define their sound, a sound that sets them apart from every other band, especially in genre as small as bluegrass," says Langlais. "Our approach has been to find what our sound inherently will be and build off of that. Granted, we are taking a piece of what Bill Monroe's band did in order to make our own bluegrass band. That's just inevitable. But he borrowed from all these other genres, too – rock 'n' roll, country music, Scots-Irish fiddle music. I think we have realized what our sound is with this album."

Greer, who hosts occasional nights of acoustic classic country and bluegrass in Asheville called Cornmeal Waltz (after a Guy Clark song), understands the music-food connection, saying that no matter what goes into gumbo or Brusnwick stew, they're still "as southern as red clay." The same is certainly true of Southern Crescent, Town Mountain's prize-worthy signature dish.


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




What Folks Are Saying About Town Mountain:

"Sometimes you can't help but notice the growth of an enterprise…Sporting a sound rooted in string band tradition but with a fearsome instrumental drive that makes its music anything but a museum piece, the band has watched its audiences grow younger, larger and more feverishly enthusiastic."
--Walter Tunis, Kentucky.com

"While it remains a bluegrass band in all things instrumentation and touring the bluegrass and festival circuit, its sound crosses into American roots and even outlaw country, perhaps as a result of the gritty, mournful tone of Greer's vocals. 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.'"
--Durango Herald, KDUR DJ Bryant Liggett

"Town Mountain never fails to entertain an audience. They are not a band to be hemmed in to a particular genre or sound, instead they have created a unique blend of 'auditory art' that is all their own and they own it! Few bands stay grounded in their roots and continue growing strong though Town Mountain has accomplished it in way that can only be explained by witnessing it firsthand."
--Steve Johnson -Artist Relations Manager-MerleFest

"... bounced between rollicking straight-ahead fare, proto-rock, neo-trad country and jaunty boho picking" --Nashville Scene, Jewly Hight

"They are definitely a band of the here-and-now, yet they have a feel that harkens back to the early string music days of the last century"
--Bluegrass Unlimited, Derek Halsey

"There was such an instant energetic spirit felt from this band, that made you want to kick up your heels and promenade around the square at a barn dance all night long."
--Tanya Vega, Southside On The Town Blog

"Town Mountain is flat loaded with talent. The band delivers its grass both new and old style. With Robert Greer singing lead, the vocals come across as authentic, even as the lyrics stretch well beyond the traditional boundaries."
--The Roanoke Times, Tad Dickens
Jon Stickley
Jon Stickley
Jon Stickley has been involved in music in various forms his entire life. While growing up in Durham, NC, he sang in church choir, studied guitar and saxophone, played drums in the highly regarded indy rock band Strunken White, and formed the bluegrass band Crawdad PA with his brother, Jeff Stickley, and banjo player Andy Thorn. While in college at NCSU, Stickley and Thorn founded the Big Fat Gap bluegrass band in Chapel Hill, and then traveled to Colorado to join the seminal, award winning bluegrass band Broke Mountain with Travis Book, Anders Beck and Robin Davis. Broke Mountain was sadly short lived, but the members went on to be part of such acclaimed acts as Greensky Bluegrass, Larry Keel And Natural Bridge, The Infamous Stringdusters, and Leftover Salmon. After Broke Mountain disbanded, Stickley moved to Asheville, NC to join The Biscuit Burners. When founding member, Shannon Whitworth left to start her solo career, Stickley followed and was her primary musical collaborator from 2008-11. During his stint with Whitworth, he played with New Vintage in Raleigh, NC, and recorded his first solo bluegrass record “Lions”, which features Andy Thorn, Russell Johnson (6), and Bobby Britt. In 2011, Stickley joined Asheville’s Town Mountain as their full-time bass player, and played guitar and bass on their album, "Leave The Bottle", produced by Mike Bub and Scott Vestal. In 2012, Stickley left Town Mountain to focus primarily on the Jon Stickley Trio. Since then, Stickley has released two records - “Jon Stickley Trio”, and a second solo album, “Stickley…”.
Stickley’s music is primarily based around his 1956 Martin D-18 and it’s bluegrass style, but also embraces all of the musical influences that he and his bandmates have been a part of throughout the years. In addition to leading the Jon Stickley Trio, Stickley is also one of Asheville’s up and coming session players and has produced records for Dehlia Low, Sanctum Sully, Fireside Collective and Tellico.
Venue Information:
Capital Ale House Music Hall
623 E Main Street
Richmond, VA, 23219
http://capitalalehouse.com/