Album review: Town Mountain stands tall in the new grass with ‘Southern Crescent’

Town Mountain
Town Mountain image by Sandlin Gaither

The greatest of the ‘grass-fed players should be considered rock stars like rock stars are. Complex melodies and downhome ideals sung and played with natural passion and jaw-dropping chops ought to make that a given.

Final Cover Hi Res-page-001Put on “Southern Crescent” and appreciate some incredible music — and air guitar opportunities. One of the peaks in the monumental Asheville, North Carolina music community, Town Mountain returns on the heels of a teaser single celebrating the Grateful Dead last year.

Mandolinist Phil Barker, banjoist Jesse Langlais, fiddle player Bobby Britt and guitarist Robert Greer stand out tall in the huge “new grass” realm. All but Britt sing and harmonize like the devil, but quite angelically. A quick rip through “St. Augustine” gets the album going just to let you know what you’re dealing with. Then they settle in. “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. Guest Wilson Savoy, of the legendary Louisiana brood of Ann Savoy, pounds out the piano, and the requisite drums for it are tapped by the great multi-instrumentalist mountain man, Dirk Powell.

In “House with No Windows,” the melancholy is stunning, and in “Wildbird,” the excitement palpable. Both of those feature just the quartet, and good Lord, can they play and sing! Crisp air, pine boughs, dusty floor board floors and all manner of characters with smiles, and in tears. That and more makes up this music. As Jim Lauderdale recently shouted out about Town Mountain, “They sound like Carolina.” What an excellent record.
– Tom Clarke

Town Mountain
“Southern Crescent”
Release: April 1, 2016
Label: LoHi Records
TownMountain.net

Related story: Album review of Town Mountain’s “Dead Session.” LINK


ABOUT Tom Clarke

Tom Clarke
From pre-war blues to the bluegrass of the Virginia hills, Tom Clarke has a passion for most any kind of deep-rooted American music, and has been writing about it for 25 years. He’s particularly fond of anything from Louisiana, Los Lobos, and the Allman Brothers Band and its ever-growing family tree. Tom’s reviews and articles have appeared in BluesPrint, the King Biscuit Times, Hittin’ The Note, Kudzoo, Blues Revue, Elmore, Blues Music Magazine, and now, Tahoe Onstage. Tom and his wife Karen have raised four daughters in upstate New York. They split their time between the Adirondack Mountains and coastal South Carolina.

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