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Archive for February, 2016



Jane Kramer Makes a Full Voiced Return to Her Roots with Mountain-made Second Solo Album,
Carnival of Hopes – Out TODAY Fri, Feb 26, 2016

ASHEVILLE, NC — Vocalist and songwriter Jane Kramer independently release her gutsy and ambrosial second solo album entitled Carnival of Hopes on Friday, February 26, 2016. With deep ties to the area, Carnival of Hopes boasts a sparkling cast of Ashevillian producers and players. Kramer’s longtime friend Adam Johnson of Sound Lab Studios, whose portfolio of clients includes such names as Alison Krauss and Yo Yo Ma, produced and engineered the album. You can now pick it up at iTune: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/carnival-of-hopes/id1071615103.

Cover Carnvial of Hopes(1)-1(1)The ten-song album was recorded at the award-winning Sound Temple Studios in February of 2015, while she still lived on the other side of the country in Portland, Oregon. A few months later, after a four-year run spent writing and reflecting on the West Coast, Jane Kramer pulled up stakes and returned to Western North Carolina with a renewed energy to share her new music with the world. The sense of homecoming that rings through was a conscious effort, Kramer says. “I did that because Asheville is my dirt. It’s my home and my culture, musically and otherwise. I missed it and knew somewhere in my bones I would be coming back to stay soon,” she says.

Kramer is backed by Chris Rosser on piano and harmonium, Eliot Wadopian on upright bass and River Guerguerian on drums and percussion, the virtuoso trio that comprises Free Planet Radio, as well as master Georgia-based bluegrass musicians/ multi-instrumentalists, Pace Conner (steel string, high string and baritone guitars, ukulele, mandolin, and backing vocals) and Michael Evers (Dobro, banjo, mandolin, and backing vocals) who arranged the songs for recording and perform and tour with Kramer regularly. Virtuoso players, Nicky Sanders of Steep Canyon Rangers and Franklin Keel of Sirius B play orchestral fiddle and cello, respectively, on “Good Woman.” The New Orleans jazz-influenced “Why’d I Do That Blues,” features a horn section comprised of JP Furnas on trombone and Ben Hovey on trumpet.

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Jane Kramer. Photo By Sandlin Gaither.

She credits her songwriting hero and mentor, Mary Gauthier, with helping her reach for, and express, everything she hoped to communicate with the album. Carnival of Hopes aches and soars with her connections to Appalachian balladry, a force she first encountered at Warren Wilson College and honed while performing with the Asheville-based all-female trio, the Barrel House Mamas, who helped reintroduce Americana music to the Blue Ridge Mountains a decade ago. However, it is as a solo artist where the power of Kramer’s songwriting and world-class vocals truly shine. The songs on the album were all penned by Kramer with the exception of one cover, “Down South,” written by Tom Petty.”

Kind Words About Carnival of Hopes

“Pulling from her roots as a mountain-made musician, she zeroes in on Americana elements like folksy instrumentation while giving her lyrics center stage… Kramer’s voice is so smooth it melts into her own guitar-playing and violin overlays.” —Elmore Magazine’s Savannah Davanzo
WATCH World Premier of Music Video for “Carnival of Hopes.”

The Bluegrass Situation premiered a stream of the title track here.

“Kramer’s vocal glides between sorghum-sweet low notes and a breathy upper register, maintaining a wink the whole time. But even with its moments of levity and meet-cute two-steps, Carnival of Hopes is sincere.”
Mountain Xpress, Alli Marshall

“[Jane] embraces songwriting that runs through a gamut of emotions, with heartache, regret, fear, and hope resounding deeply in her lyrics, and each tune is delivered with a voice that only be described as one of the purest in modern Americana… Carnival of Hopes is a steady stream of beauty.”
Blue Ridge Outdoors, Dave Stallard

“… you can tell Kramer is having fun singing these songs and that feeling endearingly transcends to the listener. Kramer’s vocals are soulful and textured allowing for a range of emotions to illustrate each beautifully poetic song.”
That Music Mag, Jane Roser

“Jane Kramer says her new album Carnival of Hopes is about facing down inner demons while still clinging to ‘that tiny chirping of light in your bones that somehow keeps you tethered to keeping on.’ And if that sounds like the sort of perseverance Tom Petty writes about, well that might not be a coincidence… Jane Kramer Brings Appalachian Past Into Cover of Obscure Tom Petty Song”
Ray Padgett, Cover Me Songs premiered “Down South.” Stream it here.

“Jane Kramer is writing and playing classic folk with mountain influences, her strong voice lilting through honest expressions of life, love and the human condition.” —Asheville Citizen Times, Carol Rifkin

“Enchanting and accessible song-crafting; country, honky tonk, blues.”
Rapid River Magazine

“Well produced, highly melodic and beautifully accessible”
Northern Sky, Allan Wilkinson

“Like the title implies, Carnival of Hopes presents a festival of emotions from a woman who is cognizant of the fact that life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but one who embraces hope, knowing that through hardship often comes something of beauty.” —The Daily Country, Tara Joan

“…this album has the feel of a country record from the late 1980s, similar to Patty Loveless or Kathy Mattea.” —WNC Magazine, Tim W. Jackson

“Jane Kramer makes gorgeous music. With sensual magnetism in her voice, honesty in her lyrics and elegance in her melodies, her songs cast a wonderful spell. Give this record a listen; you will be taken on a lovely ride deep into the mystical world of an artist on the rise.” —Mary Gauthier, American songwriter and performer

Learn more about Jane Kramer and her music at www.JaneKramer.net and stay up to date with news at www.facebook.com/janekramersongstress.

 

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Experienced_Keel_COVER

Larry Keel’s Experienced Out TODAY Friday, February 26, 2016!
Experienced is a blazing journey of music
featuring Larry Keel, Jenny Keel, and Will Lee

with special guests:
Sam Bush, Del McCoury, Peter Rowan, Keller Williams, Jason Carter,
Mike Guggino, and Anders Beck

LEXINGTON, VA —  Flatpicking guitar phenom Larry Keel dazzles music-lovers once more with his 15th self-released album Experienced, out today, February 26, 2016. Del McCoury says, “Larry Keel is a triple threat… songwriter, guitar player, entertainer. He can do it all.” The album is an entirely original work that showcases both Larry’s and bandmate Will Lee’s exceptional songwriting, singing and jaw-dropping instrumental performances, accompanied by Keel’s equally talented wife Jenny Keel on upright bass and harmony vocals.

Experienced is available now at Keel’s web store (http://larrykeel.com/products-page/) and CD Baby (http://bit.ly/LarryKeel_Experienced_CDBaby).

Added to the raw sophistication of Keel’s progressive acoustic style are several guest-musician-friends who appear on various tracks of Experienced, a list of artists that reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of icons and new stars including Sam Bush, Del McCoury, Peter Rowan, Keller Williams, Jason Carter (The Del McCoury Band), Mike Guggino (Steep Canyon Rangers), and Anders Beck (Greensky Bluegrass). The album was recorded at Wally Cleaver Studio in Fredericksburg, VA with engineer (and guest drummer) Jeff Covert and mastered by the award-winning industry great Bill Wolf (Willie Nelson, Tony Rice, Doc Watson) in Arlington, VA.

The seven tracks on Experienced reflect Keel’s musical personality, from frenzied and raunchy to mystical and sensitive, and through it all, Keel’s honest attitude shines, fearlessly and with throttle wide-open. “I love me some Keels. There is a certain genuine authenticity that Larry and Jenny possess,” says Keller Williams. “When we get together, our wonder-powers unite to form a giant, impenetrable sphere of open-minded, Appalachian psychedelic goodness.” Sam Bush (who plays mandolin and fiddle on the fiery opening track “Ripchord”) exclaims, ‘Enjoy the music… Larry does!”

Kind Words About Experienced

Experienced is on the rise on the Americana Music Association’s radio chart and currently at #25!

Experienced jimmies into your soul” —No Depression, Amos Perrine

“Few people can get away with describing their music as an ‘experience.’ But then again, few words come close to actually describing the music of Larry Keel. To see Larry Keel perform is to have just that: a unique, singular experience that cannot be duplicated.” —Bluegrass Today, Brian Paul Swenk

“The Keels are the next generation of pickers, and the way they invite legends like Del (McCoury) and Sam (Bush) into their songs adds a punch to music that already punches you in the gut, a punch that makes you want to giddy up, to stand-up, to throw your hands up and slam your boot wearing feet in the ground and shout ‘Hallelujah’” —Relix Magazine’s Peter Shapiro
Relix Magazine presented world premiere of Experienced
which is available to stream through the end of the day of the album release

“Not that many artists get to album number 15 in their career. With Experienced… Larry Keel hits that milestone… and he does so with more than a little help from his friends.” —Folk Alley premiered the song “Fill ’em Up Again.”

“[Keel] keeps things interesting by offering genre-bending novellas that demand attention and then subsequently, if not inevitably, satisfy it. The guy is simply too good to allow anyone a sense of comfort. Don’t dare click the stop button — you never know what might be coming around the playlist.”
Frederick News-Post, Colin McGuire

“Always innovative and pushing boundaries, I was eager to see what type of magic Larry Keel could pull off with a list of guests that included Keller Williams, Del McCoury, and Sam Bush… To say that this album lived up to it’s hype would be an understatement. Every guest was utilized in a way that showcased their most impressive talents, yet this still clearly felt like a Larry Keel album the whole way through.” —Music Marauders, Mitch Melheim

“Keel’s record is beautiful–I love how the rawness of his voice (and playing) really lets the soul shine through the arrangements! I’ve always liked how he can go from sweet and sentimental to dirty and greasy and back.
I especially liked the song ‘Memories’” —Oliver Wood, The Wood Brothers
The Bluegrass Situation Premiered the song “Memories.”

“The album alternates from the sweet nostalgia of ‘Memories’ to the rough and raw ‘Fill ‘Em Up Again,’ to the spooky spirit-filled ‘Warrior,’ complete with Native American chanting from Rowan, similar to his work on ‘Land of the Navajo’ from the first ‘Old and In the Way’ album.” —Mountain Times, Jeff Eason

“It is clear just how much heart was put into each and every word written, and every note sang and played. It also seemed that Keel took the time to write songs that fit well with the musical stylings of his guests.”
NYS Music, Amy Lieberman

“Bluegrass, Americana, and everything else that sounds good”
The Lonesome Road Review, Larry Stephens

Experienced… represents an exploration of American roots music
with folk and blues making appearances on the record.”
Americana Review, Jason Gartshore

“Listening to the new Larry Keel album Experienced is a revelation. It is a look at what music can be when stripped of preconceptions and when a blend of bluegrass, deep woods psychedelia and moonshine combine.”
Consider Collective, Eric Rayburn

Experienced is an album you’ll want to experience again and again.”
Wildman Steve, The Corner News

Experienced Track Listing:

  1. Ripchord [Lee] 6:09  w/ Sam Bush
    2. ‘Lil Miss [Keel] 4:22
    3. Memories [The Keels]  4:00
    4. Fill’em Up Again [Lee] 2:55 w/ Del McCoury, Jason Carter, Mike Guggino
    5. Miles and Miles [Keel] 4:37 w/ Keller Williams
    6. The Warrior 4:38  [Keel] w/ Peter Rowan
    7. Another Summer Day [Lee] 4:47 w/ Anders Beck, Jeff Covert*All tracks with The Larry Keel Experience:
    Larry Keel, Will Lee, and Jenny Keel

    Find out more and stay up to date with news from Larry Keel at www.larrykeel.com, www.twitter.com/LarryKeel, www.facebook.com/LarryKeelFishinAndPickin.

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NewSTewWeb Corey Glover, Roosevelt Collier, Yonrico Scott, Dave Yoke, Jared Stone, and Matt Slocum
Come Together as ‘The New Stew’ to Re-imagine Bill Withers – Live At Carnegie Hall

The New Stew is a “super group” of a handful of fine musicians from all genres of music that features Corey Glover (Living Colour, Galactic) on vocals, Roosevelt Collier (The Lee Boys) on Lap Steel/ Pedal Steel, Yonrico Scott (Derek Trucks Band, Royal Southern Brotherhood) on percussion, Dave Yoke (Susan Tedeschi Band, Dr. John, Scrapomatic) on guitar, Jared Stone (Stone’s Stew) on drums, and Matt Slocum (Oteil and the Peacemakers, Col. Bruce Hampton & Aquarium Rescue Unit, The Lee Boys) on piano. This project was formed with one focused goal, to pay respect to those recordings that influenced the players and to re-imagine recordings that they feel should be heard and experienced in a live setting.

The first homage will be paid in Spring of 2016 when the group makes its debut in select cities playing the classic Bill Withers – Live At Carnegie Hall album from start to finish. It is more than a labor of love, it is a way to allow the public to experience something again or in many cases the first time and reconnect with this classic recording over four decades since it’s release. The tour kicks off in early May in Cincinnati before heading up north to Philadelphia, Annapolis, Brooklyn, and Washington, DC and then loops down south for shows in Asheville and Atlanta.

Bill Withers’ performance at Carnegie Hall on October 6, 1972, was recorded, and released as Live At Carnegie Hall in the following year. Recorded less than a year and a half since Withers quit his day job to pursue music full time, the then rising soul star commands the historic New York stage with veteran poise and power with songs like “Use Me”, “Ain’t No Sunshine”, and “Lean On Me.” In counting years as a live performer he was a novice but his ability to transform the hallowed venue to a tiny club and hold the audience’s attention like a conversation, a feat that heightens the intimacy of the performance and accentuates the intensity of the songs.

Withers’ along with his band moved fluidly, stretching out the songs beyond their initial recorded times, the subsequent jams take the audience on a ride the studio recordings were not able to do. The album ranks at number 27 on Rolling Stones’ list of the 50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time. Live At Carnegie Hall stands as one of the greatest live recordings of all time. and The New Stew is delighted to re-imagine this time-honored performance.

The New Stew on tour performing Bill Withers – Live At Carnegie Hall
5/5 Thu – Live at Ludlow Garage – Cincinnati, OH
5/6 Fri – The Ardmore Music Hall – Philadelphia, PA
5/7 Sat  – Ram’s Head On Stage –  Annapolis, MD
5/9 Mon – Brooklyn Bowl – Brooklyn, NY
5/10 Tue – The Hamilton Live – Washington, DC
5/11 Wed- The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC
5/12 Thu – Center Stage – Atlanta, GA

For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/thenewstew

Meet The Players in The New Stew:

Corey Glover
Corey Glover is a singer and songwriter who is best-known for his work in Living Colour and has toured as the vocalist for the funk band Galactic. Corey is a GRAMMY Award winner for Best Hard Rock Performance (Cult of Personality) and was also named best new Best New Artist at the MTV Video Music Awards (1989). Living Colour was also included to be one of the first bands on the inaugural Lollapalooza tour in 1991. With his band Living Color, Corey has released 6 albums. Living Colour blends hard rock, soul, funk and jazz to create a unique sound that is often copied but never duplicated. Cory and his band mates have remained sonic pioneers for over 2 decades. In addition to live music, in 2006 Corey began a co-headlining a national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, playing the role of Judas. Corey performed as Judas with the National touring company until 2008 when he returned to his band to begin work on their next record.

Roosevelt Collier
Soft-spoken by nature, south Florida-bred Roosevelt Collier does his hollering on the steel guitar. Seated front and center, the “sacred steel” front man with The Lee Boys leaves an indelible mark on listeners, flooring audiences with his lightning-fast slide work. A regular “Artist at Large” at festivals, the sit-in virtuoso has built a reputation for collaborating with some of the industry’s most respected artists of all genres, from the Allman Brothers and Umphrey’s McGee, The Del McCoury Band, and Dumpstaphunk. His new side-project, the Roosevelt Collier Trio, features Mofro drummer Anthony Cole and Shak Nasti bassist Matt Lapham — a powerhouse rhythm section, creating a filthy groove for Roosevelt’s slide to sing like James Brown and shred like Jimi Hendrix. No matter the context, when Roosevelt takes the stage, the ear-to-ear grins can’t help but be contagious.

Yonrico Scott
In 1979, Yonrico accepted an Artist in Residency assignment in Atlanta, GA, with The Neighborhood Arts Center’s Department of Cultural Affairs. He soon became one of Atlanta’s most sought-after studio drummers. Since 1995, Yonrico has been touring with the Derek Trucks Band (DTB). Since their self-titled debut CD was released in October 1997, the band has released six albums. The DTB has headlined both ‘Blues Cruise’ and ‘Jam Cruise,’ and completed multiple tours in Japan & Europe.  He is also a member of the Royal Southern Brotherhood along with Cyril Neville. Throughout his musical career, Yonrico has recorded and/or performed with a Who’s Who list of well-known artists. Most recently, he has collaborated with The Ying Yang Twins and Outkast. Other notable artists include Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Widespread Panic, Phil Lesh, and The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Yonrico’s Broadway tour performances include The Wiz, 5 Guys Named Moe, and Dream Girls.

Dave Yoke
Dave Yoke taught himself guitar in his native Anniston, Alabama drawing on the blues enthusiasm of his older siblings. He launched his career as a founding member of the long-standing, regionally popular Second Hand Jive. In the mid-90s, Yoke moved to Atlanta and became an in-demand session player, joining forces with (Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown associate) Dr. Dan Matrazzo. Yoke was then invited to become a full-time member of the oft-GRAMMY-nominated Susan Tedeschi Band and the legendary Dr. John. He is also a permanent member of Scrapomatic, with whom he tours and has recorded three albums. As testament to his blues roots, Dave is regularly invited to sit in with the Allman Brothers Band, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, and Americana artist Kristina Train.

Jared Stone
Jared Stone has done a few things. Played for country music stars, served in the USMC, drove minors across the country for merchandise %, studied music at universities, played a lot of jazz, made records, played on records, owned jazz clubs, built music venues, mended fences, promoted concerts and festivals, directed festivals and some other things that he is sure he can’t remember. He has a bad ankle from running in combat boots too long. He still plays the drums pretty good though and his band is Stone’s Stew.

Matt Slocum
Born in Newton, MA, he began his formal classical training at the age of 8, at the South Shore Conservatory of Music in Boston. At the age of 14 Matt moved to Alabama where he was accepted to the Alabama School of Fine Arts. In the summer of 1991, he attended the Berklee College of Music Performance Summer Program, and was rated among the top 10 musicians in the entire program. Matt is a keyboardist whose skills are predominantly in-demand with southern jazz, funk, fusion & blues musicians. Matt has been a member of the Oteil and the Peacemakers, Col. Bruce Hampton & Aquarium Rescue Unit, Jimmy Herring Band, Jeff Sipe Band, The Lee Boys, Susan Tedeschi band, and the Rich Robinson Band.

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The Band of Heathens. Photo by Greg Giannukos.

Celebrating 10 Years, The Band of Heathens Is Going Big in 2016

Austin, TX — Celebrating ten years together, The Band of Heathens is set to embark on a banner year with founding members Ed Jurdi (guitar, keys, vocals) and Gordy Quist (guitar, vocals) along with Trevor Nealon (keys, vocals), Richard Millsap (drums, vocals) and Scott Davis (bass, vocals). Fresh off the boat from the Sirius XM Outlaw Country Cruise, This Austin, TX based world class rock n roll outfit has two new releases slated for 2016, beginning with the Green Grass EP, which will premiere four new BOH originals and a faithful cover of The Band’s “Bessie Smith, featuring Joe Fletcher.

In the coming months, they will be sailing the high seas aboard Kid Rock’s 7th Annual Chillin’ The Most Cruise, hitting select markets in the Rockies, Midwest and the Southeast and are set to return to The Ride Festival in Telluride, CO with Pearl Jam and many others later in the year.

BoH EPcover2016bFans will receive a free digital download of the five-song limited edition EP, Green Grass, with all advance ticket purchases. The CD version will only be available at their shows and in the web store: www.bandofheathens.com/music.

For a limited time anyone can download the title track for free at http://bit.ly/BOH_GreenGrass_2016. The EP will be followed later in the year by a full album tentatively slated for release in September.

The Band of Heathens on Tour
2/24 – The Kenney Store – Kenney, TX
2/26 – Spirits Food & Friends – Alexandria, LA
3/09 – The Funky Biscuit – Boca Raton, FL
3/10-14 – Kid Rock’s Chillin’ The Most Cruise
3/16 – SXSW – Swan Dive – Austin, TX ^
3/17 – SXSW – Craftsman – Austin, TX >
3/25 – Luckenbach Dancehall – Fredericksburg, TX
3/26 – Legendary Firehouse Saloon – Houston, TX
3/31 – Cervantes’ Other Side – Denver, CO *
4/01 – Hodi’s Half Note – Fort Collins, CO *
4/15 – MAIN St. Fort Worth Arts Festival – Fort Worth, TX
4/17 – Old Settler’s Music Festival – Driftwood, TX
4/19 – Knuckleheads – Kansas City, MO*
4/20 – Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO*
4/21 – The Castle Theatre – Bloomington, IL*
4/22 – Taft Ballroom – Cincinnati, OH
4/23 – Beat Kitchen – Chicago, IL
4/24 – Woodlands Tavern – Columbus, OH
4/26 – Lafayette’s Music Room – Memphis, TN
4/29 – Hal & Mal’s – Jackson, MS +
4/30 – Rock ‘n’ Ribs Benefit – Selma, AL
5/26 – Free Texas Music Series @ The County Line – San Antonio, TX
5/28 – The LOT Downtown – Mansfield, TX
6/03 – Montrose Music Summer Series – Montrose, CO
6/04 – Music on the Mesa – El Prado, NM
6/23 – Thursday Music On Main – Victor, ID
6/24 – Hwy 30 Music Fest – Filer, ID
6/26 – Blues, Brew and BBQ at Snowbasin – Huntsville, UT
8/19 – Texan Theater – Greenville, TX
8/20 – Cultural Activities Center – Temple, TX

^ New Frontier Touring Presents
> The New Americana Party
* w/ Chicago Farmer supporting
+ supporting the Drive-By Truckers

For more information, please visit www.bandofheathens.com, www.facebook.com/thebandofheathens, www.twitter.com/bandofheathens, and www.youtube.com/user/bandofheathens.

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Raw, soulful, and with plenty of swagger,
Town Mountain releases 5th album, Southern Crescent,
April 1, 2016 on LoHi Records

Produced by Dirk Powell at his Cypress House studio
in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

ASHEVILLE — In much the same way that iconic southern dishes such as Louisiana gumbo or Brunswick stew can include any number of flavorful ingredients, so too does bluegrass music rely on a recipe that can vary wildly, depending on who’s doing the cooking. For Asheville, North Carolina-based bluegrass band Town Mountain, the key ingredient of the musical stew that is their career-defining fifth album, Southern Crescent, is the same confident – yet entirely embraceable – swagger that has distinguished the group since they first formed in 2005. The new album is due out on April 1, 2016 on LoHi Records.

Final Cover Lo Res

With an insatiable musical hunger, the members of Town Mountain (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) made their way to the little south-central Louisiana town of Breaux Bridge, where they recorded their most cohesive, most satisfying album to date. Produced by legendary GRAMMY-winning musician (and Louisiana transplant) Dirk Powell at his Cypress House studio, with low-swooping live oak trees and the picturesque Bayou Teche nearby, Southern Crescent is nothing less than a musical tour-de-force. Adam Chaffins* plays bass in the touring outfit.

The 2013 winners of IBMA Momentum Awards for Performance Band and Vocalist of the Year (Robert Greer), Town Mountain has earned raves for their hard-driving sound, their in-house songwriting and the honky-tonk edge that permeates their exhilarating live performances, whether in a packed club or at a sold-out festival. Just as a gumbo recipe starts with the “holy trinity” of staples (onions, bell peppers and celery), and can contain a wide variety of additional ingredients and inspiration, the hearty base of Town Mountain’s music is the bluegrass triumvirate of Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. It’s what else goes into the mix that brings it all to life both on stage and on record and reflects the group’s wide-ranging influences – from the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia and the ethereal lyrics of Robert Hunter, to the honest, vintage country of Willie, Waylon and Merle.

Southern Crescent was recorded in a decidedly old-school way, live, with minimal fixes and overdubs, with all the musicians in the same room and no noise-reducing baffling between them. The result: a raw, soulful album that prompted iconic singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale to enthuse in the liner notes, “The first time I heard Town Mountain I loved, respected, and enjoyed them. And I do now more than ever. They have stuck with their deep bluegrass roots but as they have with all of their releases, they have grown and expanded. They sound like Carolina, and they carry that sound farther and farther with Southern Crescent, their latest gem.”

In spite of not having worked with Powell as their producer before, singer-songwriter Robert Greer says he walked away from the experience “thinking this is how I want to record every record from this point on.” It probably didn’t hurt that Powell’s mom, who lives next door to the studio, was keeping the group supplied with coffee and homemade chocolate chip cookies.

The new album is being released on LoHi Records. Based in Greensboro, N.C., the label is a partnership formed by entrepreneur and marketing veteran Jim Brooks with singer/songwriter and record producer Todd Snider, record producer Tim Carbone (who also plays fiddle in newgrass band Railroad Earth) and Chad Staehly from Gold Mountain Entertainment in Nashville.

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Town Mountain. Photo by Sandlin Gaither

Each of Town Mountain’s members contributed songs to Southern Crescent, with Barker, Langlais and Greer the chief writers in the band. A democratic process determines what they’ll record, but the greatest factor, especially on the new record, is audience reaction, which is basically what led to release of the band’s first official live album, Town Mountain: Live At The Isis, in 2014. “We’ve gone into the studio before with new stuff but every tune on this record had been road-tested,” says Greer. “We go in to the recording situation and we have our tunes arranged already because we’ve been playing them on stage. That’s a contributing factor to successfully being able to record them live, because we’re used to doing them night after night.”

From the boogie-woogie piano of Jerry Lee Lewis that inspired the delightful (and danceable) “Coming Back to You,” to Greer’s cleverly penned and fast-paced “Tick on a Dog,” which offers a taste of another major bluegrass influence, Jimmy Martin, Southern Crescent is tailor-made to keep live audiences on their feet, but it’ll also keep those who think they can easily peg Town Mountain on their toes. “With live music, anything can happen,” Greer acknowledges. “It’s not supposed to be perfect but does it have soul!”

The music, perhaps, should also come with a road map. As Langlais explains, “A lot of the material is based around traveling. You start to peel back the lyrics of the songs and see that a lot of the material is about being out on the road and the experiences – positive or negative – that we may have living the lifestyle.”

Just as the guys find a wealth of musical inspiration in each other, there’s admittedly a little frustration that comes from being in a band with several other gifted songwriters at the same time. As Langlais explains, “You want to make sure you’re up there and everybody else is feeling the same about you. It’s good to have multiple writers in the band because it gives your audience more variety.”

That variety is indeed part of what drives Southern Crescent, which opens with Britt’s delightfully dizzying fiddle work on “St. Augustine,” and showcases Greer’s hard-country vocals on “House With No Windows” and on the freewheeling composition “Ain’t Gonna Worry Me,” (penned by Barker). The group members’ palpable chemistry (and individual artistry) are displayed throughout such instantly memorable tracks as “Wildbird,” (Barker) and “I Miss the Night,” which Langlais penned (with Mark Bumgarner) after experiencing 22 hours of daylight during Alaska’s summer solstice.

“Bands are constantly trying to define their sound, a sound that sets them apart from every other band, especially in genre as small as bluegrass,” says Langlais. “Our approach has been to find what our sound inherently will be and build off of that. Granted, we are taking a piece of what Bill Monroe’s band did in order to make our own bluegrass band. That’s just inevitable. But he borrowed from all these other genres, too – rock ‘n’ roll, country music, Scots-Irish fiddle music. I think we have realized what our sound is with this album.”

Greer, who hosts occasional nights of acoustic classic country and bluegrass in Asheville called Cornmeal Waltz (after a Guy Clark song), understands the music-food connection, saying that no matter what goes into gumbo or Brusnwick stew, they’re still “as southern as red clay.” The same is certainly true of Southern Crescent, Town Mountain’s prize-worthy signature dish.

Town Mountain on Tour 2016:
3/4-5 Fri-Sat – Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival – Hilton Head, SC
3/19 Sat – The Rabbit Hole – Charlotte, NC (with Jeff Austin Band)
4/1 Fri – The Grey Eagle – Asheville, NC
4/2 Sat – Newgrass Brewing Company – Shelby, NC
4/5 Tue – Hampton Taphouse – Hampton, VA
4/6 Wed – Gypsy Sally’s – Washington, DC
4/7 Thu – Lizard Lounge – Cambridge, MA
4/8 Fri – Hill Country BBQ – New York, NY
4/10 Sun – Tin Angel – Philadelphia, PA
4/12 Tue – Haymarket Whiskey Bar – Louisville, KY
4/13 Wed – Cosmic Charlie’s – Lexington, KY
4/14 Thu – The Station Inn – Nashville, TN
4/15 Fri – Barley’s – Knoxville, TN
4/16 Sat – Waverly “Old 280” Boogie – Waverly, AL
4/17 Sun – Zydeco – Birmingham, AL
5/28 Sat – Rooster Walk – Martinsville, VA
6/24 Fri – ROMP Fest – Owensboro, KY
7/23 Sat – Homegrown Music Festival – Ozark, AR

For more information, please visit TownMountain.net, facebook.com/TownMountain, twitter.com/TownMountain, and instagram.com/townmountainbluegrass

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Larry Keel Brings New Album ‘Experienced’ On the Road

With Tour Dates In The NE & SE States

Larry Keel Independently Releases Experienced on Friday, February 26, 2016
A blazing journey of music featuring special guests:
Sam Bush, Del McCoury, Peter Rowan, Keller Williams, Jason Carter, Mike Guggino, and Anders Beck

LEXINGTON, VA —  Flatpicking guitar phenom Larry Keel is set to release a his 15th album, Experienced, on February 26, 2016. Keel has a variety of musical formats swirling around the calendar each year: look out for his core band, The Larry Keel Experience (featuring Will Lee on 5 string banjo and vocals and Jenny Keel on upright bass and vocal harmonies). They are set to embark on an album release tour starting in late February with stops throughout the north and south eastern States including a couple of sets at Suwannee Springfest in Live Oak, FL and a lot of pickin’ gig on at Aiken Bluegrass Festival in South Carolina. See Larry’s full list of tour dates below including a few early February dates with Keller & the Keels, as well as All-star shows in Hawaii leading up to Valentine’s Day and at Winter Wondergrass in Vail in mid-February.

Experienced includes seven tracks and is an entirely original work that showcases both Larry’s and bandmate Will Lee’s exceptional songwriting, singing and jaw-dropping instrumental performances, accompanied by Keel’s equally talented wife Jenny Keel on upright bass and harmony vocals. It was recorded at Wally Cleaver Studio in Fredericksburg, VA with engineer (and guest drummer) Jeff Covert and mastered by the award-winning industry great Bill Wolf (Willie Nelson, Tony Rice, Doc Watson) in Arlington, VA.

Added to the raw sophistication of Keel’s progressive acoustic style are several guest-musician-friends who appear on various tracks of Experienced, a list of artists that reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of icons and new stars including Sam Bush, Del McCoury, Peter Rowan, Keller Williams, Jason Carter (The Del McCoury Band), Mike Guggino (Steep Canyon Rangers), and Anders Beck (Greensky Bluegrass). According to Larry, “This project is a collection of my songs and Will Lee’s music, developed further with the amazing talents of some of our musician friends and heroes. Very real. Very fresh.”

Larry Keel On Tour with Experienced 2016

Keller & the Keels
2/04 Thu – Plaza Live – Orlando, FL*
2/05 Fri – Jannus Live – St. Petersburg, FL*
2/06 Sat – b.e. easy Music & Arts Festival – Lake Worth, FL

The Keels w/ Special Guests
2/12-13 Fri-Sat – Charleys Restaurant and Saloon – Paia, HI
2/19-20 Fri-Sat – WinterWonderGrass – Vail, CO

The Larry Keel Experience
2/26 Fri – Shepherdstown Opera House – Shepherdstown, WV
2/27 Sat – Gypsy Sally’s – Washington, DC
3/03 Thu – Rabbit Hole – Charlotte, NC ^
3/04 Fri – Charleston Pour House – Charleston, SC ^
3/05 Sat – Tifton Rhythm & Ribs Festival – Tifton, GA
3/18-19 Fri-Sat – Suwannee Springfest – Live Oak, FL
3/24 Thu – The Jefferson Theater – Charlottesville, NC <
3/25 Fri – Asheville Music Hall – Asheville, NC
3/30 Wed – Plain Folk Cafe – Pleasant Plain, OH
4/2 Sat – Woodlands Tavern – Columbus, OH
4/3 Sun – Elk Creek Cafe – Millheim, PA
5/7 Sat – Sleepy Creek Spring Ding on the Potomac – Berkeley Springs, WV

The Keels w/ Special Guests
5/13-14 Fri-Sat – – Aiken Bluegrass Festival – Aiken, SC >

*w/ Yonder Mountain String Band
^ w/ Jon Stickley Trio
< w/ The Woodshedders
> Friday LKE set, Sat Keller and Keels as well as Larry Keel All-star jam with Vince Herman, Mimi Naja, Paul Hoffman, Anders Beck and more!

More date TBA! Stay tuned to www.larrykeel.com.

What folks are saying about Experienced

Experienced_Keel_COVER“Keel’s record is beautiful–I love how the rawness of his voice (and playing) really lets the soul shine through the arrangements! I’ve always liked how he can go from sweet and sentimental to dirty and greasy and back. I especially liked the song ‘Memories’” —Oliver Wood, The Wood Brothers

“Larry Keel is one of my favorite artists..his new cd has grit, warmth, vision, and is so real. Which is what makes this band the most kick ass band to ever raise hell this side of the old dominion.”
Chance McCoy, Old Crow Medicine Show

Experienced jimmies into your soul” No Depression, Amos Perrine

“Listening to the new Larry Keel album Experienced is a revelation. It is a look at what music can be when stripped of preconceptions and when a blend of bluegrass, deep woods psychedelia and moonshine combine.”Consider Collective, Eric Rayburn

“The album alternates from the sweet nostalgia of ‘Memories’ to the rough and raw ‘Fill ‘Em Up Again,’ to the spooky spirit-filled ‘Warrior,’ complete with Native American chanting from Rowan, similar to his work on ‘Land of the Navajo’ from the first ‘Old and In the Way’ album.”  —Mountain Times/ Watauga Democrat, Jeff Eason

“Not that many artists get to album number 15 in their career. With Experienced (due out February 26), flatpicking phenom Larry Keel hits that milestone… and he does so with more than a little help from his friends.” –Kelly McCartney, Folk Alley premiered the song “Fill ’em Up Again.” Stream it here → www.folkalley.com/archives/001465.php

The Bluegrass Situation Premiered the song “Memories.” Stream it here → www.thebluegrasssituation.com/read/listen-larry-keel-memories  

“Larry Keel is a true original, be it traditional, progressive, improv- he does it all and with such joy. I love jamming with Keel. Enjoy the music, Larry does.”–Sam Bush

“Larry Keel, the Bluegrass Warrior, has kept the flame of mountain alive with intensity and clarity of singing and fiery guitar picking! Larry and Jenny both have big-ears and wide listening to open their music up to a growing young audience” —Peter Rowan

Find out more and stay up to date with news from Larry Keel at www.larrykeel.com, www.twitter.com/LarryKeel, www.facebook.com/LarryKeelFishinAndPickin.

 

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StickleyHoneyWC

The Grey Eagle Hosts NPR World Cafe’s ‘Sense of Place’
with Jon Stickley Trio & The Honeycutters on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tickets are on sale now at → http://bit.ly/WorldCafeAtTheGreyEagle

ASHEVILLE, NC — NPR’s World Cafe, produced by XPN in Philadelphia, is bringing the show to Asheville’s The Grey Eagle on Tuesday, February 23rd for an evening of entertainment with Jon Stickley Trio and The Honeycutters, two Asheville-based bands who have both been making headlines across the country. World Cafe host David Dye will be in the house to interview with them before each band performs. This is a special show with limited seats available, so get tickets early before it sells out. Doors are at 7pm and the shows starts recording at 8pm. Tickets are on sale now at www.TheGreyEagle.com. $15/$18. Come see it LIVE! It will air at a later date, tba!

The New York Times calls Jon Stickley Trio’s sound “respectful and free” and NPR Music featured a track off their new album Lost at Last on their program Heavy Rotation with Folk Alley’s Linda Fahey writing, “Jon Stickley has been playing in bluegrass bands for years, and is known as a progressive and adventurous flatpicker, but his musical roots and influences range widely to include rap, grunge, punk and more… [It’s] a wonderfully unique sound that defies easy categorization.”

Nashville’s Music City Roots’ Craig Havighurst says of The Honeycutters, “Vocalist Amanda Platt has a voice that’s complex, sweet and aching. Even more potently, she writes songs that folks are citing as up there with the best of the field, such as Mary Gauthier and Lucinda Williams.” Saving Country Music goes on to write, “…Platt’s songwriting could be placed in the exceptional category, at least from the evidence Me Oh My [2015 Organic Records] presents in her favor. It’s not just the sorrow and sincerity, it’s the insight and the resonance.”

Since launching World Cafe in 1991, David Dye has served as the host of this nationally acclaimed show, now syndicated on more than 250 public radio stations across the United States. Every week, Dye brings out the best in interviews with internationally known artists such as Yo-Yo Ma and Joni Mitchell. He has conducted nearly 4,500 interviews during his years with the program. He introduces a half-million listeners each week to groundbreaking artists like Vampire Weekend, Mumford & Sons, PJ Harvey, Sheryl Crow, Beck, LCD Soundsystem, and Amos Lee.

World Cafe’s Sense of Place is a quarterly series which brings the whole crew, including host David Dye, to various cities around the world. Previous shows have been recorded in Rio de Janeiro, Iceland, Havana, Stockholm (Sweden), Dublin, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Austin, Pittsburg, Nashville, Memphis, Portland, and more. Sense of Place is made possible by a grant from The Wyncote Foundation in hopes to give you an idea of the past and present of various local music scenes and some pointers for musicians or music-lovers planning a visit.

Asheville-area NPR affiliate, WNCW, consistently sings praise for each band; The Honeycutters placed #3 with Music Director and Morning Host Martin Anderson saying, “Amanda Platt writes songs on par with Lucinda, Isbell, Lauderdale, Hank Sr.” Anderson says of Jon Stickley Trio, who placed #13 in the poll, “Asheville has a force to be reckoned with in the tight three-piece perfection of the Jon Stickley Trio. It’s pretty incredible how closely the three play with their unique blend of Appalachian, jazz, maybe even prog-rock styles.” You can tune in to World Cafe on WNCW weekdays between 4am to 6am and 6pm to 8pm.

For more information, please visit www.xpn.org/world-cafe/sense-of-place, www.TheGreyEagle.com, www.jonstickley.com, and www.thehoneycutters.com.
Get Tickets at http://bit.ly/WorldCafeAtTheGreyEagle.
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