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Archive for June, 2012

Asheville’s Town Mountain is performing at The Grey Eagle for a special Pre-CD Release show and the kick off event for their “Leave the Bottle” tour surrounding their upcoming new release on Saturday, July 7th. They will have special guest Steve “Big Daddy” McMurry (frontman and founding member of Acoustic Syndicate from NC’s Cleveland County) performing solo before their set as well as jumping in on a few tunes! Doors are at 8pm and the show starts at 9pm. Tickets are $10 adv/$12 door.

Town Mountain and Steve McMurry. Photo by Jason Beverly

Town Mountain is excited to announce the release of their fourth album, Leave the Bottle, September 4th, 2012. The band finds themselves becoming one of the preeminent torchbearers of their craft, facing a promising future. “Centered around strong, soulful vocals, and poised to stay put,” says Woody Platt of the Steep Canyon Rangers, “Town Mountain are true to bluegrass in all the right ways and this new project keeps them firmly connected to the traditions of the genre, while also allowing them to reach out into the broad horizon of string band music. Leave the Bottle comes highly recommended.” Always contributing to the evolution of the bluegrass form, they toss influences as varied as surf-rock, gospel, and honky-tonk country into their field of play.

Mike Bub eloquently noted that Town Mountain is “not reinventing the wheel, but taking the wheel in their hands and driving the music down both familiar roads and out to new territory.” Jim Lauderdale was driven to exclaim, “There’s a new mountain in town – Town Mountain – and they get down with heart, grit, soul, and dive! They’ll get you moving!” They’ve done just that, winning the prestigious Rockygrass competition in 2005 before moving on to wow audiences from North Carolina’s Merlefest to Oregon’s String Summit to 2013’s February’s inaugural Mountain Song at Sea and all points between.

Banding together in 2005, Town Mountain is Phil Barker on mandolin and vocals, Robert Greer on lead vocals and guitar guitar, Jesse Langlais on banjo and vocals, Bobby Britt on fiddle, and newest member Jon Stickley rounds them out with his steady bass and rock-solid guitar and vocals. They share the kind of easy-going friendly bond that relays itself through their music. 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 2011’s Steady Operator. Banjo player extraordinaire and longtime member of the Sam Bush Band, Scott Vestal, also joined the team by engineering the new album, which was recorded at Digital Underground Studio in Nashville, TN.

Their undeniable charm and winning way with words recently won Town Mountain a spot on Putumayo’s recent Bluegrass release, showcasing the song “Diggin’ on the Mountainside” alongside tracks from Alison Krauss, David Grisman, Sam Bush, Railroad Earth, The Seldom Scene, and more. Town Mountain has collaborated and/ or performed along with Doc Watson, Jim Lauderdale, Steep Canyon Rangers, Acoustic Syndicate, Keller Williams, Larry Keel, David Grisman, and The Infamous Stringdusters. They’ve been branching out as a band and as teachers, making their first overseas jaunt to Finland in the spring of 2012 and holding court at workshops in Canada, St. Louis, amongst other cities. The prestigious International Bluegrass Music Association has twice selected Barker for their songwriting showcase (2010 and 2011), and the band was part of the official showcase in 2011.

Thanks to their relatable, unforgettable lyrics along with their arresting stage presence and swagger, Town Mountain manages to rise above the seemingly bottomless canyon of bluegrass bands touring today and, inevitably, they will be traveling close to you sometime soon. Come on out and enjoy music filled with contagious energy and creative original scores!

Town Mountain. Photo by Jason Beverly.

Town Mountain’s “Leave the Bottle” Tour

Sat, July 7th – Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle with Steve “Big Daddy” McMurry
Sun, July 8th – Aberdeen, NC – The Rooster’s Wife House Concert Series
Thur, July 19th –  Raleigh, NC – The Pour House Music Hall
Fri, July 20th – Staunton, VA – Mockingbird Roots Music Hall
Sat, July 21st – Ashland, VA -Ashland Coffee and Tea
Sun, July 22nd – Brooklyn, NY – Jalopy
Tue, July 24th – Cambridge, MA – The Cantab Lounge
June 25th – Grey, ME – Caswells Farm presents Bluegrass in the Barn
Fri & Sat, July 27-28th – Hiram, ME – Ossipee Valley Music Festival
Mon- Wed, July 30th – Aug 1st – St. Louis, MO – The Folk School of St. Louis – Workshop Residency
Fri, Aug 3rd – Fort Collins, CO – Acoustic Bridge Musical Potluck
Sat, Aug 4th – Keystone, CO – The Keystone Bluegrass and Beer Festival
Sun, Aug 5th – Casper, WY – Bear Trap Summer Festival
Wed, Aug 8th – Winter Park, CO -Ullrs Tavern
Fri, Aug 10th – Gold Hill, CO – The Gold Hill Inn
Sat, Aug 11th – Longmont, CO -The Dickens Opera House w/ Spring Creek
Aug 13-19th – Saskatoon, SK, Canada- Town Mountain will be teaching and playing at the camp this week. Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Camp & Fest
Thur, Aug 23rd – Knoxville, TN – Barley’s Taproom
Sat, Aug 25, 2012 – Norfolk, VA – The Virginia Zoo Concert Series
Fri, Sept 7th – Portland, OR – Mississippi Pizza Pub
Sun, Sept 6th – Seattle, WA – “The Spotlight” House Concert
Sat & Sun, Sept 8-9th – Sisters, OR – Sisters Folk Festival
Tue, Sept 11th – Seattle, WA -The Tractor Tavern
Sat, Sept 15th – Asheville, NC– Brewgrass Festival w/ The Traveling McCoury’sMore tour dates on: townmountain.net/blog/tour/
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Special thanks to videographer Jess Hamm for recording the entire show from Red June‘s album release party at The Altamont Theatre in downtown Asheville!

I’ve posted a few below and you can find the rest on YouTube!

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 “Valorie Miller is early James Taylor re-transcribed in female flesh with some very distinct differences, especially the lyrics to Haunted Hand (an’, hoo boy, you’re not going to hear that one on TV any time soon!).” —FAME

(ASHEVILLE, NC)–  The critically acclaimed North Carolina singer-songwriter and guitarist Valorie Miller will officially release her sixth album, Turtle Shell, at 9pm July 12 at BoBo Gallery at 22 Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville.

Guest musicians at the event will include Will Straughan, Mike Holstein, Justin Ray and Moses Atwood.

Miller recorded Turtle Shell in just 10 hours of studio time at Asheville’s Echo Mountain during sessions for her project as well as for fellow singer-songwriter Rupert Wates, who traveled from New York City to record his new album, At the Losers’ Motel, there with vocal support from Miller. Along with her vocal and guitar work, Turtle Shell features Mike Holstein on upright bass, Will Straughan on dobro and backing vocals, Justin Ray on trumpet (track 4) and Rupert Wates on piano (track 9). It is self-produced and was engineered at Echo Mountain by Chris Medrano.

The record is one of Miller’s strongest efforts, every track featuring her distinctive and expressive voice, expert guitar work and originality—always with a flavor that has branded her as a reviewer at No Depression Magazine put it, “pure Carolina from whisper to wail.” But she’s known far outside of the state, having gained national recognition and sharing the stage with such artists as Merle Haggard and Leon Russell. Lucinda Williams and Tony Arata (writer of multiple hits for Garth Brooks, among others) have praised her songwriting. Some say her sound is reminiscent of artists such as Patsy Cline and Billie Holiday, but these are influences. Miller’s work is strikingly original, and Turtle Shell is a case in point.

The album opens with My Acre, a song with stunning acoustic bass and engaging motion. It exudes hopefulness, curiosity and sweetness as it contrasts fear with joy, comfort with discomfort in the life and place one makes for one’s self. The song conveys great meaning in life, in dreaming about escaping one’s boundaries but feeling self-doubt and the fear of not finding forgiveness for the past. And any artist can relate to the lyric’s conveyance of digging in deep to live the life of an artist—by unwavering choice.

The title track, Turtle Shell, features excellent dobro work and vocal harmonies. One sees a turtle crossing the road not knowing the dangers of being there. The lyric explores the challenges of change, aging, and seeking redemption and forgiveness exposed out in the world versus the desire to retreat to a place of safety, like a turtle shell, although the safety may be an illusion: “Should I pray for heaven instead of hell, or just a big turtle shell?”

With great guitar picking, Peaches Ahead is an upbeat tune conveying the Southern country experience of passing roadside signs advertising produce stands in the summer and looking forward to the peaches ahead. It seems to be a metaphor for a belief that good things are ahead, but the optimism is tempered with realism and the understanding that summers—and life—are fleeting. It brings to mind the lyric of Billie Holiday’s recording of Speak Low by Ogden Nash and Kurt Weill in which Holiday sings, “Speak low when you speak love. Our summer day withers away too soon, too soon.”

Alcohol and Elephants delivers the pleasant surprise of Justin Ray’s trumpet, and it contains visionary lyrics that take the listener to the experience of ghosts in glasses of alcohol (perhaps memories of loves past that return with drink and solitude) and elephants in rooms. It reflects on human relationships and avoidance or even self-deception in the interest of keeping a love alive. “A blind eye is turned and an ether flower blooms, alcohol and elephants in the room. The heart of a good man is tested when it’s in the hands of a woman who’s a bigger bite than he can chew.”

Also very visual, Haunted Hand to speaks to desire for lasting love, a lasting touch and a fleeting opportunity to connect with an unexpected stranger who blows into a town that beforehand seemed empty. The opening line: “Met you in a ghost town tumbling like a weed, I don’t know if you want me, but you surely haunt me.” It also creatively compares the two characters of the song and a passing chance. “I am Carolina, you are Tennessee. You are a spider, and I’m a bumblebee… You better hurry up and get me, for I’m sure you’ll agree—time ain’t nothing but a miser and endings come for free.”

American Women is a witty take on a serious subject—the big-dollar ad campaigns and pop culture that make women fail to recognize their natural beauty and spend fortunes on trying to change their looks, supposedly for the better. But by whose definition? This is a protest song. “The bodies of American women are a country that’s been occupied. From bushes to eyelashes, everything gets modified,” Miller sings, concluding later in the tune that there’s nothing that needs modification. “And love is our final rebellion, intelligence our best tool. American women come home to yourselves in a mirror that’s always half-full.”

The next track, Snowflakes, moves to a jazzy feel with Mike Holstein’s fabulous bass playing and Miller’s expressive vocals and versatile performance skills. It’s another takes-you-there song about the spirit and movement of snow, how it falls on the evergreens as one sits by a warm fire inside and watches through the window.

Drunken Tattoo is country by definition—real country in the same sense that Hank Williams was. It’s about regretting a past relationship, but being hopeful about one day forgetting. It features a great guitar solo enhanced by dobro and contains a line that sums up the how long it can take to forget: “Time flies on a busted wing.”

A perfect conclusion to the album is the final track, Some Other Sky, a contemplative piece (with an unusual and imaginative piano part performed by Rupert Wates) that asks, “Did the day live up to the dream? Did the sun promise to rise, then hand you some dark alibi and light up some other sky?”

Well, maybe it lit up another sky in the song’s story, but not on the album. This one lives up to the dreams of anyone seeking a sophisticated, original and distinctively Southern album—but not by the garden-variety definition of the region. Valorie Miller is an example of what listeners can find in the real South if they look carefully off the beaten path and listen.

For more information & to listen to sample tracks from the album, visit:
www.valoriemiller.com and www.cdbaby.com/cd/valoriemiller

Show Details at a Glance:

Valorie Miller ~ CD Release Show
Bobo Gallery
Thursday, July 12, 2012
$5, 9pm

 22 N. Lexington Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
www.bobogallery.com

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Occupy the Tea Party with Panama Red!!– Another great one from Peter Rowan on his tour with The Mosier Brothers from Pisgah Brewing Company last Thursday night.

Thanks to Mark DaBabe Roth for recording.

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Thank you Peter Rowan for writing such a beautiful and touching song in honor of Doc Watson and sharing it with all of us for the very first time at Pisgah Brewing Company at last night’s show with The Mosier Brothers!!!

Thanks to Mark “DaBabe” Roth for recording.

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Donna the Buffalo & Friends full closing set from Suwannee Springfest! Great intro by Randy, Beth, Lyle and Paul– thank you for a wonderful festival!! 🙂 Special musical guests enter the stage about an hour in and include Randy Judy, Sean Foley, Verlon Thompson, Rashad from Tornado Rider, Donna Hopkins, Ralph Roddenbery, Richie Jones, Samantha Allesi-Jones, Taylor Martin, Bobby Miller, Fil Pate….

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Red June releases their second full length album, “Beauty Will Come” TODAY Tuesday, June 5th!

CD Baby
iTunes

Red June is Will Straughan on resonator guitar, vocals and guitar; Natalya Weinstein on fiddle and vocals; and John Cloyd Miller on mandolin, vocals and guitar. Red June is based in Asheville, NC.

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Hear Red June on WFDD’s Triad Arts Up Close in Studio A w/ David Ford
www.wfdd.org
Today at 8:35am and again 5:44pm EST
It will re-air on Friday, June 8 at 1:00pm EST

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What the Press is Saying About “Beauty Will Come”

“It’s natural, organic fresh air cool mountain stream music that strikes the right chord. It’s music meant to be played on the back porch at sundown while the coffee’s a ‘brewin’ and the soup is heatin’ up. This is the epitome of Americana and you probably won’t hear it on stupid ‘country’ radio” –Mike Greenblatt, Rant’n’Roll Aquarian Weekly

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“They can kick it with a reel, squeeze a country turnip until it bleeds, and tell a folk tale as well as most anybody, but where they really shine is their songwriting…” –Frank Gutch, Jr., FAME Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange

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“I gotta say, this CD is INCREDIBLE!!! I loved it. It is full of wonderful songwriting, beautiful vocals and remarkable instrument work.”–Riley Baugus

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“With equal parts Celtic, old timey, trad country, and contemporary folk, Red June typifies what modern folk music is all about” –Steven Stone, AudiophileReview.com

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“a diverse yet cohesive mix of original Americana tunes; North Carolina style… soulful, rootsy and eclectic mountain music.” —Awaiting the Flood

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“undeniably charming” –JC, 3rd Coast Music

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“… airtight harmony that will impress even the toughest critic. Listen to their vocal blend on “I’m Willing To Try,” and you may need to have your jaw surgically removed from the floor – they are that good!” –Chuck Dauphin, Music News Nashville

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“From git-down instrumentals to lovely waltzes, even a set of Irish reels, every piece is played with confidence and soul.” —Fiddle Freak

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“The single vocal microphone they situated around might as well have been a campfire as they performed with such grace and a true reverence for those who chose to spend some time with them.” –Scott T. Horowitz, The Upful Life and Times, Suwannee Springfest Review

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Red June 2012 “Beauty Will Come” Spring/Summer Tour Dates
6/7 Reynolda House – Winston-Salem NC
6/8 Hickory Unitarian Church – Hickory NC
6/9 Mountain Home Music – Blowing Rock NC
6/14 Live on WNCW’s Studio B @ 1pm – Spindale, NC
6/14 Whitewater Center – Charlotte NC
6/15 Altamont Theatre – Asheville NC
6/21 Marsh Woodwinds Upstairs – Raleigh NC
6/22 Ashland Coffee & Tea – Ashland VA
6/23 The Mainstay – Rock Hall MD
6/26 The Living Room – NYC
6/27 Johnny D’s – Boston MA
6/30 Wesley United Methodist Church – Amherst MA

Find out more and see the complete tour dates at RedJuneMusic.com

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