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.
Wintergrass 2014 performers Matuto will be performing an eclectic mix of Brazilian music and traditional music of the American South via NY!!
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.
The Seattle area will get at least two chances to see The Lil’ Smokes prior to Wintergrass 2014 with the first being at the Nectar Lounge on Thursday 11/14/2013 and back at the Nectar Lounge in Feb 26,2014 for the Nectar Lounge Wintergrass Prelaunch Party.
Hailing from the utopian garden city, known as Missoula, MT, The Lil’ Smokies exploded onto the acoustic/bluegrass scene, back in the winter of 2009, and haven’t shown any signs of fatigue since. Sharing the stage with heavyweights like, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Keller Williams, Greensky Bluegrass, The Emmit-Nershi Band and dozens of others, The Lil’ Smokies have
no problem captivating large audiences. With a unique blend of traditional bluegrass, newgrass, unique original compositions and sheer raw energy, The Lil’ Smokies weave seamlessly through genres, leaving something for everyone.
The Smokies have played the Trap Bar at Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival (2011), the Bozeman Bluegrass Fest (2011), Sandpoint Summer Fest (2013), Art in The Park in Kalispell, MT (2013), Love Your Mother Earth Festival (2010), Babb Fest (2009), River City Roots Festival (2011, 2013), the Northwest String Summit’s Further Stage and Main Stage (2013), and they won the 2013 Northwest String Summit Band Competition. This six-piece bluegrass ensemble features, Pete Barrett on guitar, Andy Dunnigan on dobro, Scott Parker on upright bass, Matt Cornette on banjo, Cameron Wilson on mandolin, and Jesse Brown on Fiddle.