North Carolina’s, Town Mountain, is touring around their fourth album, Leave the Bottle [Pinecastle Records 2012]. Based in Asheville, NC, Town Mountain is Robert Greer on vocals and guitar, Jesse Langlais on banjo and vocals, Phil Barker on mandolin and vocals, Bobby Britt on fiddle, and Jake Hopping on upright bass. One listen to their instantly memorable songs, and it’s plain to see why Grammy-winner Mike Bub would align with the group to produce Leave the Bottle as well as their third release Steady Operator .
Leave the Bottle effortlessly covers a wide array of styles in the string band spectrum featuring the stellar in-house songwriting that has become the band’s trademark. There’s the barroom swagger and honky tonk edge of tracks like “Up the Ladder” and the title track “Leave the Bottle”, the Jimmy Martin style bounce and confidence of “Lawdog” and “Lookin’ in the Mirror”, the Irish flavor of Bobby Britt’s “Four Miles”, and the laid back John Hartford style groove of “Greenbud on the Flower” among others. But no matter the style, the band’s delivery gives every tune a true and honest feel. The album went on to be listed as #6 Best Bluegrass Album of 2012 by Pop Matters, and WNCW listeners voted it #19 in the Top 100 albums of 2012 and #7 in regional bands for the WNC area. In 2012, a Phil Barker original, “Diggin’ on the Mountainside”, was featured in Putumayo’s Presents Bluegrass.
In 2002, Clay Ross embarked on a musical odyssey that brought him closer to home. The South Carolina native moved to New York to pursue a jazz career and several years later found himself in Recife, Brazil studying the region’s folkloric music. Along the way he rediscovered the straightforward songs of his native South. The guitarist and singer titled his Ropeadope Records debut Matuto, after a Brazilian slang reference to a man from the backcountry. Described as “Weird and Wonderful… Unorthodox and Delightful” by Jazz Times Magazine, the set allows Ross to carve a niche in a musical tradition created on another continent. He performs North American folk songs like “Home Sweet Home” and Blind Willie Johnson’s “John the Revelator” over South American rhythms Maracatu, Forró, and Coco typical of the northeastern region of Brazil. In recording the album, Ross called upon the talents of NYC’s most sought-after musicians, including master accordionist Rob Curto. Born in New York, Curto is widely regarded as forró’s foremost ambassador in the States. An early devotee of North American swing music, bebop piano, funk, rock, and blues, he has combined these influences with his mastery of their Brazilian counterparts forró, chorinho, samba, maracatu, and frevo to produce stunning new results. He spent years living and playing in Brazil, completely absorbing and interpreting the country’s musical traditions. Curto was a member of the original scene that established forró, the dance music of northeastern Brazil, as an official dance craze in downtown New York. Ross and Curto began exploring a shared musical vision and set about combining their individual repertoires into an extensive library of Pan-American influences. Focusing their talents, resources, and experience Ross and Curto set out to establish Matuto as a band. In February of 2009 they received a prestigious Fulbright Grant and completed a six-week residency in Recife, Brazil.
In May 2013 the band will release their second full length album, “The Devil and the Diamond” on Motéma Music. This recording reflects the inspiring live show that the band has developed over hundreds of performances around the world. Appalachian fiddle tunes bounce with a Northeastern Brazilian lilt while the one string Berimbau resonates with a strangely effective blues riff. Curto spins long chromatic melodies over intricate arrangements and infectiously funky folkloric rhythms. Like a true southern preacher, Ross delivers colorfully satirical lyrics reminiscent of David Byrne, Tom Ze, and Caetano Veloso.
With an honest love for roots music, genuine Brazilian styles, and improvisational experimentation, Matuto creates a unique and inspired sound from the heart of New York City’s diverse musical culture.
Elephant Revival is another great band from Colorado. They all share vocals and write songs. An Americana band bringing with roots of gypsy,rock,Celtic, alt-country and folk forming their own sound.
The Indie Acoustic Music Project simply labeled their sound “progressive edge.” At least, that’s the category in which it placed the band when it gave their Ruff Shod/Nettwerk Records release, BREAK IN THE CLOUDS, a best CD of 2011 award. It’s as good a label as any to convey what Rose has described as their mission: “to close the gap of separation between us through the eternal revelry of song and dance.”
Elephant Revival also shares a commitment to responsible stewardship of the planet and its inhabitants, working with organizations such as the Conscious Alliance, Calling All Crows, Trees Water & People, and other nonprofits supporting humanitarian causes. Their very name was chosen out of empathy for a pair of zoo pachyderms who, upon being separated after 16 years, died on the same day. The band related that heart-rending story during their April 2012 debut on fellow Coloradoans Nick & Helen Forster’s internationally syndicated “eTown” radio show – like Elephant Revival, a blend of music and social consciousness.
Sitting in the audience during their performance, one music blogger was moved to write, “Elephant Revival serenaded the crowd with arabesque melodies, harmonies and rhythms that braided and coiled into a sublime aural tapestry. Their instrumental dynamics, verse, and even the harrowing story that inspired their appellation, invoked the majesty, mystery and sorrow of Mother Earth.”
Campout for the Cause festival organizers put it this way in an affectionate shoutout on their Facebook page. “We love Elephant Revival so much,” they wrote, “not just for their incredible music and conscious lyrics, but for their commitment to living up to the standards they set forth and setting positive examples.”
It’s a paradigm worth spreading, and that’s what Elephant Revival members intend to continue doing as they carry their music around the world, speaking one song at a time. Sage Cook (banjo, guitar, mandolin, tenor banjo, bass and fiddle); Bridget Law (fiddle, octave fiddle); Bonnie Paine (washboard, djembe, musical saw, stompbox); Daniel Rodriguez (guitar, banjo, bass); and Dango Rose (double-bass, mandolin, banjo).
Wintergrass 2014 performers the Downtown Mountain Boys will be performing as part of the Cashmere Community Concert series on October 19th,2013.
- CASHMERE COMMUNITY CONCERTS -
DOWNTOWN MOUNTAIN BOYS
ORGANIZED BY CASHMERE COMMUNITY CONCERTS
THE ORGANIZATION DEDICATED TO THE PRESERVATION
OF EARLY STYLE ACOUSTIC MUSIC
The Rambling Rooks are kind of a new band. Guitarist Kenny Smith,bassist Ronnie Bowman and mandolinist Don Rigsby were 3/4ths of the Lonesome River Band in the 90′s. Kenny went on to form the Kenny & Amanda Smith Band, Ronnie formed his band the Committee and continued singing and writing award winning songs and Don formed his band Midnight Call and In 2001, he became the first full-time director of Morehead State University’s Kentucky Center for Traditional Music.
They started playing a few shows together in the past year or so and will be at Wintergrass 2014! They often add a banjo player to their shows and we will update this post when we know who will be with them at WIntergrass.
Currently they are just finishing up on the first Rambling Rooks CD. Here is a preview the band just posted from the project of a song “The Coal Minin’ Man”
Next Friday night!!
An evening with Runaway Train, Tubal Caine and the Bluegrass Regulators
This will be the final regular show for Runaway Train as their banjo player Luke is heading to the East Coast as a new inductee to the Coast Guard Academy. The show will be at the Old Liberty Theater in Ridgefield,WA – just north of Vancouver, WA. Admission by donation to support the Chick Rose School of Bluegrass youth program. The show starts at 7:pm. Call Gary Dewhirst at 253 225 3389 for details. don’t miss this one if you can help it – It will be a night to remember!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUL2SE7EcYE