Town Mountain

Steady Operator

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Town Mountain is a young bluegrass band that has managed to capture the attention of jam band fans as well as older listeners in the world of traditional and progressive bluegrass. The five pickers in this Asheville, North Carolina band come from backgrounds in various rock, punk, jazz, folk, and Americana bands, but eventually left all that behind to play their own kind of high-energy acoustic music. On-stage, they impress folks with their free-flowing improvisations and high energy. Here they pay attention to the structure of the individual songs, highlighting the arrangements with short, focused instrumental bursts. On the uptempo side, there's "Tarheel Boys," a tune written by Steep Canyon Ranger Charlie Humphrey. It's taken at a blistering speed and features Bobby Britt's fiddle and Phil Barker's supersonic mandolin. "Fallin' Off the Wagon" is an instrumental that plays Jesse Langlais' banjo of against a Barker's mandolin in a slightly more sedate mood. Taken at a slightly slower pace "All You Despise" could be a hardcore country hit. Robert Greer turns in a snide, gritty vocal and the band rips into the tune with ferocious humor. Barrett Smith plays a short, rockabilly slap-bass riff to open "Come Break My Heart," a tune with a traditional bluegrass feel that deals with unfaithful women and the men who love them. "Five Shots of Whiskey" is a desolate country-blues from the pen of Hank Williams III; it's played at a solemn tempo with a distressing vocal from Greer that fits the tune's themes of heartache and self-destruction. The set closes with "Flannery's Reel," a traditional tune that highlights Britt's mournful fiddling.

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