Town Mountain Released ‘Live At The Isis’ on August 19th, 2014
Recorded at Isis Music Hall in the Band’s Hometown of Asheville, NC
ASHEVILLE, NC -- Town Mountain’s hard drivin’ bluegrass sound, tight harmonies, and stellar in-house songwriting have become the band’s trademark. They light up the stage with their honky tonk edge and barroom swagger, featuring a Jimmy Martin-style bounce and confidence that is countered at times by a laid-back John Hartford-esque groove. Town Mountain includes 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.
They released their first official live album, Live At The Isis, on August 19th, 2014. The concert was recorded in their hometown of Asheville, NC at Isis Music Hall. The album features live versions of previously released studio material including crowd favorites “Lawdog,” “Tarheel Boys” and the fiddle tune “Four Miles.” Amidst the original songs are a couple of lively Town Mountain-tweaked covers such as “The Race Is On” and “Orange Blossom Special.” The audio was mixed by Scott Vestal, acclaimed banjoist with the Sam Bush Band, who also mixed their fourth studio album Leave The Bottle [Pinecastle Records 2012].
The members of Town Mountain have thought long and hard about their cultivated roots music groove with strong focus on crafting original material. “Without doubt, this band has fine writing chops,” writes Donald Teplyske in the Lonesome Road Review.
“I feel like we’re closer to original bluegrass than a lot of bands out there today,” says Langlais. “I listened to a radio show recently that featured Ricky Skaggs and he flat-out said that Bill Monroe influenced rock and roll. He said that folks like Elvis and Carl Perkins and those guys were looking up to Bill Monroe. So, I feel like our band has a lot of that influence as well, of the blues and early rock. If you go back and listen to Monroe pre-Chuck Berry, those are Chuck Berry licks. A lot of music in the 1940s and 50s was so over-lapping. It is easy to put genre labels on it today, 60 years later. But to be honest, it was all so new and it was influencing each other at the same time.”
The group has focused on the goal of creating a unique sound and brand while still giving a nod and a wink to the traditional side of the bluegrass genre. Juli Thanki of Engine 145 says, “Phil Barker’s ‘Lawdog’ sounds like an unearthed classic, and the group’s tight harmonies alone make this record [Leave the Bottle] a treat for any bluegrass fan.”
Town Mountain has been busy writing new songs for their next studio effort for 2015. For a sneak peak at what to expect for their future recording, watch the band perform some of their new original songs in this wonderful session filmed by Boulder’s Second Story Garage while the were in the area to perform at this year’s Rockygrass. Watch them perform "Long Time Comin’” written by Jesse Langlais: http://secondstorygarage.com/second-story-garage-town-mountain-music-video/.
The past two years have pushed Town Mountain into the upper tier of acoustic bands and they have found themselves along the side of some of the best artists today at some of the most prestigious festivals in the country such as MerleFest, Grey Fox, Rockygrass, Suwannee Springfest and the Targhee Bluegrass Festival just to mention a few.
Town Mountain is in it for the long haul... check out out where they’ll be travelin’ to this year and keep and eye onTownMountain.net for further dates and updates from the road at facebook.com/TownMountain andtwitter.com/TownMountain.
Kung Fu & DJ Bohfunk
8 x 10 Club Baltimore
By Cliff Tyler
Photo by Jane Barbacane
Some say that Thursday is the new Friday. Well, after spending a recent one at the 8x10 club in Baltimore to catch Kung Fu, lets just say Friday morning is definitely not the new Saturday. The Fu and Dj Bohfunk made that quite clear.
Based out of the New England area Kung Fu has become a leader in the new funk movement. In the past few years the genre has been begun to gain popularity again rather than being nostalgic. KF’s aggressive funk adds hints of electronic jam and shredding guitar that whips their fans into a frenzy. Heavily touring and performing at many nice music festivals has really set this all star funk lineup on fire.
Photo By Jane Barbacane
The evening began with local favorite DJ Bohfunk on the 1’s and 2’s. It’s always refreshing to see a DJ that actually uses vinyl and Bohfunk takes it to the next level. Often dancing along and occasionally lip-syncing his favorite classic tunes it’s obvious that he was having a great time and that energy reflected down on the crowd. People packed in through out his set and by the time Kung Fu was ready to come out the joint was jumping.
They wasted no time and got right into a bassy groove that enlightened the crowd. A five-piece band consisting of guitar, electric bass, keys, sax, and drums, these guys are the real deal. Every few songs they add great vocals to the mix just to make sure you are paying attention. The crowd danced, the temperature rose, and the cold drinks went down in droves. The main level was packed tight with bodies and the balcony offered little room to move as well.
This particular Thursday night was one for the record books. We sauntered home with the beat of the dance floor in our legs. We awoke groggy but ready to tackle the day ahead of us with the echoes of great music in our ears. You’ll never forget your first Kung Fu show! You can catch them as they tour the east coast over the winter and cap it off with a little gig called Jam Cruise. For more information please check out their web site at http://www.kungfumusic.com. You can also stroke the following keys and find out where the old skool funk dance party is at: http://www.bohfunk.com. Big thanks to both acts for a great night!
Photo BY Jane Barbacane
Marco Benevento 10/17/2014 Gypsy Sally's - Georgetown, Washington D.C.
Opening Act: Superhuman Happiness
Submitted By Brian Willis
Benevento brought his show to DC's Gypsy Sally's in support of his new CD, Swift. Joining him on stage was David Dreiwitz on bass and Andy Borger on drums. The house was packed, the grooves were deep and - as a bonus, we were treated to what may have been the grooviest rendition of "Nine To Five" ever performed, with Stuart Bogie on sax and Eric Biondi (from opening act Superhuman Happiness) joining in on the fun.
Superhuman Happiness opened the show as a trio with the aforementioned Stuart Bogie on sax and vocals and a bunch of other things, Eric Biondi on trumpet and vocals and a bunch of other things, and Andrea Diaz on vocals. Superhuman Happiness would be a hard band to describe but their name describes them perfectly. I highly recommend keeping an eye on this band.
“Benevento comes out swinging as a vocalizing party-starter alongside his excellent rhythm section…he extrudes sinister balladry and hustlin’ disco beats…old sounds reinvented are his bread and butter.”
- Village Voice
“Marco Benevento is a multi-talented instrumentalist exploring lyrics and melodies on another level”
Watch Marco Benevento “At The Show”
filmed during the recording of SWIFT at Richard Swift’s National Freedom in Cottage Grove, OR
The Mad Tea Party Jam Announces Dates for 2015
June 18-21, 2014 in Hedgesville, WV
Art and Music Festival The Mad Tea Party Jam, presented by Appalachian Jamwich, announces its return in 2015, taking place June 18th-21st. This marks its fourth year and annual celebration of love, art, and music in the beautiful mountains of Hedgesville, WV. It returns to the original venue of Ashton Farms, also known as "The Bavarian Villa," named for the red-roofed German style home situated on the romantic property.
The festival was originally created to celebrate the anniversary of Appalachian Jamwich creators Elise and Taco, and this year will mark their fifth wedding anniversary. The event is unique in many ways, but is made distinct by its strong underlying themes of love, unity, and selflessness. While it hosts workshops dealing with art, yoga, and nature, it is made "transformational" by its amazing participants. Attendees are encouraged to dress in costume and express themselves freely and artistically.
The event will once again host multiple stages featuring the best up-and-coming talent in the music scene amongst an array of genres such as jam, jamtronica, funk, and bluegrass. Last year's The Mad Tea Party Jam hosted Papadosio, The Werks, Dopapod, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Turkuaz, Tauk, The Mantras and more. An art gallery featuring visionary artists will be constructed in a central location and live artists will once again be creating art all weekend. Performance artists such as hoopers, fire performers, and aerialists will join the menagerie of optical delights.
The 2015 lineup has not yet been announced and "blind" tickets will be available for sale beginning Wednesday October 20 on their website. There will only be 200 of these pre-sales available and only 1500 total tickets available for the entire festival. Last year the festival was filled to capacity, so in order to maintain the intimate atmosphere with optimal accommodations, there will a cap on ticket sales.
The blind tickets are $70 for General Admission and $170 for VIP. The VIP experience includes preferred camping, a lush lounge with snacks and refreshments, VIP only port-o-potties, merch, and more TBA. This year the festival will be offering a new camping option for ticket buyers, a "Group" option for $20 extra, where you will be given a roped-off section for you and 7 other friends with your own private port-o-potty.
Please visit the website to purchase tickets www.themadteapartyjam.com and stay tuned for more information as it is announced.
Devil's Backbone Brewing Company
Doing It Live at Festy Five
By Jim McWalters
Jamily Rail Riders
Roseland VA: This year marked the 5th anniversary of The Festy Experience in Nelson County VA, and no amount of grey skies and wet weather would dampen the spirits of festival goers. While a cloudy and rainy forecast may have kept some people away, the weather was never much of a factor until Sunday, where most of the shows were moved from the Main Stage, to the (covered) Southern Stage. As in years past, the festival isn’t just about great music (although there is plenty of it), but about the overall feel of the love and magic that makes Festy a one of a kind experience.
The Festy Experience begins with the location. Situated at the base of Wintergreen Mountain at the Devil’s Backbone Brewery, Festy provides an idyllic setting in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains less than an hour south of Charlottesville, VA. Unlike larger festivals, Festy affords attendees a real connection between the music and the community of Duster fans (Jamily). With a weekend full of campsite jams, workshops, and family friendly activities, the festival provides that feeling that you’re not just attending the festival, but that you are a part of the festival. With camping just a short walk from the stages, getting around the grounds and not missing any music is super easy. Combine that with all the great local food, beer, wine and familiar friends and you get the idea why Festy is so special.
Integral to the Festy experience, is the emphasis on sustainability and reducing the footprint impact once the festival is over. The Infamous Stringdusters and Festy’s partnership with Kleen Kanteen provides campers each with their own commemorative steel pint cup, as plastic cups and water bottles are not provided. The Festy emphasizes recycling and composting inviting food vendors who only use compostable packaging. Festy also works directly with the organization Leave No Trace to assist with sustainability efforts. In fact, for each Festy ticket sold, $1.00 goes directly to the organization.
The Infamous Stringdusters On The Southern Stage
A lot of the credit to the way the festival is run and organized can be directly attributed to The Infamous Stringdusters, the host of the festival. Each member contributes a lot of time and effort in making sure the Festival is a success for everyone. In addition, band members and could be found everywhere throughout the weekend; whether on stage, at one of their many workshops, or simply strolling around the grounds hanging out with the Jamily. In reality, the festival is more or less the chance for the Stringdusters to throw a party for their friends and family who come from all around the country. Those fortunate enough to arrive early got to see locals Chamomile and Whiskey and The Stringdusters’ kick things off Thursday night at the Southern Stage.
While the music of Festy is begins and ends with the Stringdusters and bluegrass, there were plenty of other musical genres to enjoy. Each artist that performs at the Festy is hand-picked by the Stringdusters or by members of Festy management, The Artist Farm, from either past collaborations or recommendations.
Keller Williams & Nathan Moore Portasessions
Local singer song-writer Nathan Moore started off the music on Friday at Festy’s Base Camp Stage. Nathan also performed emcee duties for the weekend and held the back stage porta sessions having several artists record a song in one of the portapotty's saying "the portapottys provide good accoustics for recording". The festival would hold many nice surprises with several acts that I had never seen before including, the Mexican folk music of the David Wax Museum, the soulful bluegrass and rock of the Boston Boys, or the smooth and mellow folk-jazz sound of Shannon Whitworth & Barrett Smith. Perhaps the biggest surprise of new acts for me was the amazingly talented Czech Republic bluegrass band Druha Trava. Their mix of Czech and traditional bluegrass, was a real treat with a set that included bluegrass remakes of “Wild Horses” and “Jumping Jack Flash”.
The Boston Boys
This year’s lineup also included some familiar faces such as the infectious 80’s bluegrass cover band Love Canon, the indie folk/rock of Richmond’s Wrinkle Neck Mules, as well as the return of Nicky and Tim Bluhm (The Gramblers and Mother Hips).
2011’s International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Entertainer of the Year, The Steep Canyon Rangers made a huge impression with their unique brand of alt-country and bluegrass featuring crafty songwriting and tight vocal harmonies. Another IBMA winner, Noam Pikelny teamed with Stuart Duncan and blew people away with their Saturday afternoon set that combined Pikelny’s dry humor and banjo picking with Stuart Duncan’s impeccable fiddle. The set included the beautiful “Milford’s Reel.” Carl Jones’ “Two Pictures” as well as a nice take on the Stanley Brothers classic “If I Lose.” Things concluded with Pikelny’s own crazy good instrumental “Manchicken.”
Steep Canyon Rangers
Noam Pikelny and Stuart Duncan
Noam Pikelny and Stuart Duncan
Anders Osborne followed Pikelny & Duncan on the Base Camp Stage with a powerhouse set of New Orleans rock and blues. Special guests Marc Broussard joined Osborne on “Lean on Me” while Nicky Bluhm helped out on the Sam Cooke classic “Bring it On Home To Me.” Osborne also featured songs of his recent disc Three Free Amigos. Many argue that Keller Williams’ current outfit More Than A Little may be his finest supporting cast yet. The funky rhythm’s and gospel backed vocals adds a fresh variation to songs Keller has covered over the years, including the interpretation of “Feel Like a Stranger” and the Talking Heads “Once in A Lifetime.” One of my favorite non-traditional bluegrass acts of the weekend was the raw, trance-funk grooves of the New Mastersounds featuring Eddie Roberts on guitar, Joe Tatton on the Hammond B3 organ, Pete Shand on funk bass and wild man Simon Allen on drums. New comers to Festy, The Shook Twins provided their own set of magic with a fine interpretation of “Scarlett Begonias” and a very cool cover of “Come Together” with the help of Nicky Bluhm. The band also covered Nathan Moore’s own song, “Rubber Ball” with Nathan “helping out” on clarinet with rubber ball in mouth.
Another Festy highlight is always the Sunday morning “Garrett Grass Gospel Hour.” This year was no exception with lots of special guests joining the stage. Nicky and Tim Bluhm along with Jeremy Garrett and Mother Hips guitarist Greg Loiacono, covered the Chieftains “Long Black Veil.” The Falco Brothers backed by Andy Hall, Chris Pandolfi, Benny Galloway and Travis Book were simply amazing on the Merl Haggard’s “Sing Me Back Home.” Returning Festy artist Julie Lee, was joined on stage by the Shook Twins, Galloway, Book and Hall to perform the Hot Rize tune “You Don’t Have to Move That Mountain.” The Shook Twins then joined Chris, Travis and Jeremy on the John Hartford tune “Get No Better.” The Boston Boys delivered a fine rendition of Mahalia Jackson’s “Lord, Don’t Let Me Fail.” Topping it all off was Daniel Lawrence Walker and Jeremy Garrett (also later joined by Shook Twins and Nicky Bloom) with an incredible version of “Amazing Grace.”
Garrett Grass Gospel Hour
Last but not certainly not least, we can’t leave out the 5 amazing performances throughout the weekend by hosts The Infamous Stringdusters. Most of their sets were littered with different special guest musicians from the weekend. Weekend surprises included a late night bonfire pick on Saturday, as well as a very special Sunday night Electric Dusters featuring members of the Stringdusters and an All-Star cast of musicians which demonstrates how The Infamous Stringdusters continue to raise the bar at each and every one of their events.
Sunday Night Electric Dusters and Friends "Cripple Creek"
Video © Trevor Shaw
We just can’t say enough about The Festy Experience. As Chris Pandolfi put it, “Words cannot describe the magic that was The Festy Experience.” Many thanks to all the wonderful people who made it happen and to all the wonderful Jamily we met at The Festy who made it an even better experience.
Be sure to put it on your calendar for next year as Festy Six is sure to be another incredible Experience.
The Infamous Stringduster w/ Keller Williams
Check out our full photo galleries from each day at The Festy Experience by clicking the links below
Photos Jeffrey Socha & Jim Mcwalters