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BAlsamAlbumof year
Flying High After Months On The Bluegrass Charts, Balsam Range’s Mountain Voodoo Wins Album Of The Year Honor at 2017 IBMA!


Asheville, NC — Balsam Range is overjoyed with the news that their most recent release, Mountain Voodoo, is named Album Of The Year at the 2017 International Bluegrass Music Association’s honors and awards show!

Mountain Voodoo is the band’s sixth studio album and was released on Mountain Home Music Company [11/11/17]. Mountain Voodoo offers something that is continuing to mesmerize fans of bluegrass and beyond with elements of jazz, country, gospel, swing, and old-time music that are all infused into the fresh sound of this unique Southern band. It’s five distinct personalities creating one remarkable musical experience.

Balsam Range is Buddy Melton (Fiddle, Lead and Tenor Vocals), Darren Nicholson (Mandolin, Octave Mandolin, Lead Vocals, Baritone and Low Tenor Vocals), Dr. Marc Pruett (Banjo), Tim Surrett (Bass, Dobro, Baritone and Lead Vocals), and Caleb Smith (Guitar, Lead & Baritone Vocals). The five original members, who celebrated their 10th year together this past March, are all acoustic musicians and singers from North Carolina. They thoughtfully and respectfully adopted the name of a majestic range of mountains that surrounds part of their home county of Haywood, NC where the Smokies meet the Blue Ridge, the Balsam Range.

 

Watch the Studio Performance of “Blue Collar Dreams”
“These guys just keep getting better. How good is this one?… Aaron Bibelhauser’s ‘Blue Collar Dreams’, an anthem for working stiffs everywhere that’s been dominating the charts. The song has quite a pedigree.” —Bluegrass Today, David Morris’ Top Albums of the 2016

balsamrangemtnvoodoowallcov“No matter what your taste in bluegrass might be, every listener can find something here to like. Take a listen to ‘Blue Collar Dreams’ or ‘Eldorado Blue’ with Buddy Melton and see if you agree.”  —IBMA

“They kick the album off with a bang. Pure (what they at one time called) Newgrass, the kind of stuff on which Tony Rice and Ricky Skaggs based their reputations. Acoustic guitar (mostly picked), bass, mandolin, fiddle and banjo, and voices. The voices are crucial. You can jig and reel and you can breakdown without vocals but you cannot have the best of what bluegrass offers without voices. Think Seldom Scene and Doyle Lawson. Think harmonies sung by angels. Think harmonies stacked to the ceiling. There isn’t anything like it, or as some of my friends would say, ‘There ain’t nothin’ lak it.’”  —No Depression

Mountain Voodoo parts the curtains between heaven and earth as it speaks to those that have passed in ‘Wish You Were Here’, and sees leaving making an exit with ‘Something ‘Bout That Suitcase’ as Balsam Range walk a ‘straight and narrow line’ with empty pockets in ‘Blue Collar Dreams.’” —The Alternate Root

Some of the best vocal harmonies I can recall in quite some time… Bluegrass aficionado or not, you absolutely need to hear Balsam Range.” —Elmore Magazine

“They’re groovy. Balsam Range reminds us that bluegrass can be dancing music, hip-swinging music, backbeat music, as rhythmically hypnotic as all the plugged-in genres that formed in its wake. ‘It’s hillbilly soul!’ says mandolin player Darren Nicholson.’” —The Bluegrass Situation

“Stepping over boundaries seems to be a part of Balsam Range’s DNA.” —News & Record

Get Mountain Voodoo at iTunes, Amazon, and morehttps://clg.lnk.to/3OSAZ

For more information, tour dates, and more, please visit www.balsamrange.com.

Stay up to date with current news on www.facebook.com/balsamrange, www.twitter.com/BalsamRange, and www.instagram.com/balsamrange.

 

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BalsamRange_ByDavidSimchock2-20160906.jpg

Balsam Range. Photo by David Simchock

Balsam Range Casts Acoustic Spells with Mountain Voodoo,
Their Most Recent Release on Mountain Home Music Company

Flying High After Months On The Bluegrass Charts,
Balsam Range Nominated for Eight IBMA Awards!

Balsam Range is overjoyed with the news of today’s IBMA Awards Nominations in the following eight categories: Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Instrumental Group of the Year, Song of the Year: “Blue Collar Dreams”, Album of the Year: Mountain Voodoo, Gospel Recorded Event of the Year: “Wish You Were Here”, Male Vocalist of the Year: Buddy Melton, and Bass Player of the Year: Tim Surrett!

Balsam Range, along with Sierra Hull and Justin Moses, performed live earlier today for the awards announcement with SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction host Kyle Cantrell. You can rewatch it over on IBMA’s facebook page from their Facebook Live stream.

The band is flying high with their sixth studio album, Mountain Voodoo, which came out on Mountain Home Music Company [11/11/17]. With Mountain Voodoo they offer something that is continuing to mesmerize fans of bluegrass and beyond with elements of jazz, country, gospel, swing, and old-time music that are all infused into the fresh sound of this unique Southern band. It’s five distinct personalities creating one remarkable musical experience.

balsamrangemtnvoodoowallcovThe 13-tracks are like the book of life “Chapter Six” for Balsam Range and are filled with songs of journey, home, sense of place, hardcore drive, and longing. There are fiery instrumental parts alternating with heavy, deep ballads overlaid by the vocal harmonies the group has become known for.

Their song “Blue Collar Dreams” has stayed at #1 on Bluegrass Unlimited’s Radio chart for June, July, and August. The same song also spent three consecutive months at number one on the Bluegrass Today charts earlier this year! Two other songs from the album have also landed at #1 on Bluegrass Today’s chart including “Something ‘Bout That Suitcase” and “El Dorado Blue.”

Balsam Range is Buddy Melton (Fiddle, Lead and Tenor Vocals), Darren Nicholson (Mandolin, Octave Mandolin, Lead Vocals, Baritone and Low Tenor Vocals), Dr. Marc Pruett (Banjo), Tim Surrett (Bass, Dobro, Baritone and Lead Vocals), and Caleb Smith (Guitar, Lead & Baritone Vocals). The five original members, who are celebrating their 10th year together this March, are all acoustic musicians and singers from North Carolina. They thoughtfully and respectfully adopted the name of a majestic range of mountains that surrounds part of their home county of Haywood, NC where the Smokies meet the Blue Ridge, the Balsam Range.

Balsam Range is humbled and honored to receive nominations for this years IBMA Awards in the following categories:

Entertainer of the Year
Vocal Group of the Year
Instrumental Group of the Year
Song of the Year: “Blue Collar Dreams”
Album of the Year: Mountain Voodoo
Gospel Recorded Event of the Year: “Wish You Were Here”
Male Vocalist of the Year: Buddy Melton
Bass Player of the Year: Tim Surrett

Get Mountain Voodoo at iTunes, Amazon, and morehttps://clg.lnk.to/3OSAZ

Watch the studio version of “Blue Collar Dreams”

Critical Acclaim for Balsam Range and Mountain Voodoo:

“These guys just keep getting better. How good is this one? There’s a potential song of the year here… the laurels go to Aaron Bibelhauser’s ‘Blue Collar Dreams’, an anthem for working stiffs everywhere that’s been dominating the charts. The song has quite a pedigree.”
Bluegrass Today, David Morris’ Top Albums of the 2016

“No matter what your taste in bluegrass might be, every listener can find something here to like. Take a listen to ‘Blue Collar Dreams’ or ‘Eldorado Blue’ with Buddy Melton and see if you agree.”
IBMA

Mountain Voodoo parts the curtains between heaven and earth as it speaks to those that have passed in ‘Wish You Were Here’, and sees leaving making an exit with ‘Something ‘Bout That Suitcase’ as Balsam Range walk a ‘straight and narrow line’ with empty pockets in ‘Blue Collar Dreams.’”
The Alternate Root, Danny McCloskey

“So consistently impressive that we no longer expect their albums to be ‘better than their last,’ in less than a decade Balsam Range has hit the plateau of excellence few groups achieve. Like The Del McCoury Band, Blue Highway, and Alison Krauss & Union Station before them, a new release from Balsam Range is measured against their individual legacy. Mountain Voodoo lacks nothing.”
Country Standard Time, Donald Teplyske’s Favorite Bluegrass Albums of 2016

“Stepping over boundaries seems to be a part of Balsam Range’s DNA.”
News & Record/ Greensboro.com, Grant Britt

“They kick the album off with a bang. Pure (what they at one time called) Newgrass, the kind of stuff on which Tony Rice and Ricky Skaggs based their reputations. Acoustic guitar (mostly picked), bass, mandolin, fiddle and banjo, and voices. The voices are crucial. You can jig and reel and you can breakdown without vocals but you cannot have the best of what bluegrass offers without voices. Think Seldom Scene and Doyle Lawson. Think harmonies sung by angels. Think harmonies stacked to the ceiling. There isn’t anything like it, or as some of my friends would say, ‘There ain’t nothin’ lak it.’”
No Depression, Frank Gutch Jr.

“They’re groovy. Balsam Range reminds us that bluegrass can be dancing music, hip-swinging music, backbeat music, as rhythmically hypnotic as all the plugged-in genres that formed in its wake. ‘It’s hillbilly soul!’ says mandolin player Darren Nicholson.’”
The Bluegrass Situation, Joseph Terrell

“Some of the best vocal harmonies I can recall in quite some time… Bluegrass aficionado or not, you absolutely need to hear Balsam Range.”
Elmore Magazine, Jim Hynes

For more information, tour dates, and more, please visit www.balsamrange.com. Stay up to date with current news on www.facebook.com/balsamrange, www.twitter.com/BalsamRange, and www.instagram.com/balsamrange.

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Two Asheville, North Carolina bands, The Honeycutters and Town Mountain, represent different ends of the Americana spectrum and both will perform at the 2016 AmericanaFest in Nashville.

The Honeycutters Show Their Country Roots
with On The Ropes, Released By Organic Records

honeycutters_2016_ring_byleahbeilhartThe Honeycutters have a voice you can’t ignore; a voice of persistence, of struggle and of hope, a voice that leads the new music movement erupting out of Asheville, NC. They released their 4th studio album On The Ropes May 20, 2016 on Organic Records to much critical acclaim. Nashville’s Music City Roots’ Craig Havighurst says principal songwriter and frontwoman, Amanda Anne 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.” On The Ropes was produced by Amanda Anne Platt and Tim Surrett and engineered and mastered by Van Atkins at Crossroads Studios in Arden, NC.

On The Ropes debuted on release day at #39 on iTunes Top 40 Country Chart and #12 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases on Folk. The album spent nineteen weeks on the Americana Radio Chart hitting #10 and remaining in the top twenty for 11 weeks. It also landed in the #1 position on the Roots Music Report Country Chart! The band recently shipped the album overseas and it stands at #11 on September’s EuroAmericana Chart.

Joining Amanda Platt to round out The Honeycutters are Rick Cooper, alternating between upright and electric bass, drummer Josh Milligan, pedal steel player Matt Smith, and Tal Taylor on mandolin.
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“Like all great songwriters, Platt’s characters are alive, with enough nuance to convince the listener that they have entire lives outside the glimpse they get from the songs.” Examiner’s Chris Griffy continues, “This is most evident on the album’s closer ‘Barmaid’s Blues’. One of the rare ballads in On the Ropes’ fourteen songs and one of the most lyrically dense. When Platt’s world weary bartender laments that ‘All the gunslingers, got the rings on their fingers” and later that ‘I got a feeling like I been waiting on the last train home. It’s been a little slow, but it’s coming I know’, there’s a delicate balance of melancholy and hope that takes a deft hand to pull off without sounding cliched. Platt’s hand is that deft.”

The Honeycutters AmericanaFest 2016 Schedule

Thursday 9/22 – 12pm
– Taping with The Country Network “Our Land: The Music Highway” TV Show at The Listening Room  – Open to the public with Meet & Greet Post show  – More info TCNCountry.com

Thursday 9/22 – 10pm – The Basement – Official AMA Showcase

Friday 9/23 –  8:40am – KHYI Radio Live Broadcast with Chuck Taylor at Sound Stage Studios – Live Radio Session – listen online at khyi.com

Friday 10/23 10am airing of a radio session with The Honeycutters on Sun Radio – Solar-Powered Americana from Austin – listen online at sunradio.com

More information at www.TheHoneycutters.com

…………………

Town Mountain Displays Their Soulful Bluegrass/Country Swagger on Southern Crescent, Produced by Dirk Powell On LoHi Records

TwnMtn_2016_1_byAmyDaniels_HRRaw, soulful, and with plenty of swagger, Town Mountain released their 5th studio album, Southern Crescent, on April 1, 2016 on LoHi Records. Produced and engineered by GRAMMY winner Dirk Powell, Southern Crescent was recorded in Powell’s studio The Cypress House in south-central Louisiana town of Breaux Bridge. It was mixed by Mixed by Scott Vestal at Digital Underground in Greenbrier, TN. Since it’s release the band debuted on the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium stages bringing their sound to new audiences. The critically acclaimed album debuted at #4 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart and spent ten weeks on the Americana Radio Chart’s Top 40.

The first time I heard TM I loved, respected, and enjoyed them. And I do now more than ever,” exclaims Jim Lauderdale. “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.”

Up for the 2016 Emerging Artist Award with the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and 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. With an insatiable musical hunger, the members of Town Mountain are Robert Greer on vocals and guitar, Jesse Langlais on banjo and vocals, Phil Barker on mandolin and vocals, Jack Devereux on fiddle, and Adam Chaffins on bass. Please note Bobby Britt (fiddle) and Nick DiSebastian (bass) perform on the album.

No Depression’s Amos Perrine names Town Mountain as, “the most exciting bluegrass band to come along in a long time,” which is echoed by Music City Roots’ Craig Havighurst sentiments, “I’d put Town Mountain on my list of Five Bluegrass Bands You Must Know in 2016, because while the genre has forked and morphed in wonderful ways, these guys from Asheville have more Flatt & Scruggs and more Jimmy Martin in their sound than any young band I can think of. And when they do nod to other influences, they tend to be from parallels to the early bluegrass era, like Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins for example.”

Town Mountain AmericanaFest 2016 Schedule

Tuesday 9/20 11pm The Basement – Official AMA Showcase

Wednesday 9/21 – 9:30am airing of a radio session with Town Mountain on Sun Radio – Solar-Powered Americana from Austin – listen online at sunradio.com

More information at www.TownMountain.net

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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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IBMASo honored and thrilled to announce that I just found out I got nominated for an
International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Momentum Award for Industry Involvement!

… AND Isis Restaurant and Music Hall got nominated for an IBMA Momentum Award for Festival/Event/Venue

.. AND Woody Platt from Steep Canyon Rangers is nominated for IMBA Momentum Award for Mentor!

Asheville’s rockin’ out IBMA this year!

See all the Momentum Award nominees and the IBMA Awards nominees at https://t.e2ma.net/message/mm5ki/a9qbfm

~Cheers!
Erin Scholze, Dreamspider Publicity

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Chris Jones & The Night Drivers’ “Live At The Old Feed Store”
~
Available Now~
Recorded at The Old Feed Store in Cobden, Illinois

Chris Jones, Ned Luberecki, Jon Weisberger and Mark Stoffel
Release Live at The Old Feed Store on October 7th, 2014

The album is now available at CD Baby:
www.cdbaby.com/cd/chrisjonesthenightdriver2

Chris Jones & The Night Drivers Sign with Mountain Home at IBMA

…one of the most distinctive voices in bluegrass,
a smooth, low croon that goes down like whiskey with a little bit of honey,”
The Bluegrass Situation

How do you follow an album that features three #1 and two #2 bluegrass radio hits? If you’re Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, you give fans what they’ve been asking for—a live album that delivers a few choice new selections nestled among a flock of favorites, recorded in an intimate, small-town venue that brings out the best in the quartet’s soulful vocals, hotshot picking and easygoing humor. From its blazing opener, “Bound To Ride,” to its even speedier closer, “Pike County Breakdown,” Live At The Old Feed Store, hit the stores on October 7, 2014, and is one that long-time fans will treasure, and it’s also a perfect introduction to a group heading toward its 20th anniversary in bluegrass. The live album is a follow-up to 2013’s release Lonely Comes Easy, which was their first all-new collection since 2009’s Cloud Of Dust. Founded by guitarist Chris Jones in 1995, the Night Drivers feature four distinct personalities who bring a multitude of talents to each performance. Indeed, the group includes Jones, banjo man Ned Luberecki and bassist Jon Weisberger, and mandolinist Mark Stoffel.

The release of Live At The Old Feed Store comes on the heels of one of the busiest IBMA World of Bluegrass weeks ever for Chris Jones & The NIght Drivers. Topping the list of activities? That’s a hard call, but a few stand out, starting with the announcement that the quartet has signed a two album deal with North Carolina’s high-powered label, Mountain Home Music Company. Jones says, “We’ve been very impressed by the quality of Mountain Home’s roster and the strong record of results they’ve achieved in bluegrass music and beyond. We’re extremely excited about this opportunity to join the Mountain Home family.” Others on Mountain Home’s roster include Balsam Range, The Boxcars, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, and The Grascals. The Night Drivers will be working on a new studio album for 2015.

Also at IBMA was the reception of two IBMA awards–one to designer, label and artist for Best Graphic Design (Lonely Comes Easy, on Rebel Records designed by Lou Everhart), the other to Jones himself for Print Media Person of the Year. The group performed a showcase for booking agent Roe Entertainment and also a Wide Open Bluegrass festival slot in the Convention Center Ballroom with long-time friend and former Night Driver Jeremy Garrett (Infamous Stringdusters) on fiddle. Ned Luberecki served as off-stage announcer at the IBMA Awards Show on Thursday night, while Night Driver and IBMA Board Chair Jon Weisberger got his own shout-out from the Raleigh News & Observer when reporter David Menconi served up his Tuesday schedule as proof that the old saw that the organization’s initials stand for “I’ve Been Mostly Awake” is no joke (“Busy Days, Sleepless Nights During World of Bluegrass Week.”)

nightdrivers2014_feedstore2_ByMarkWilsonEarly reaction to Live At The Old Feed Store has been favorable, with a choice quote, “Chris Jones & The Night Drivers is a great band, not just for the mastery of their instruments, but for the sheer joy they bring to all those who listen,” with the album also earning their top rating “Bad-Ass” coming from Philadelphia’s THAT MAG.

Live At The Old Feed Store features the Night Drivers’ music front and center, exemplified by the first single, “Battle Of The Bands,” which scored a world-exclusive premiere on Bluegrass Junction. The album displays the group’s wide range of inclinations, with nods to the Stanley Brothers (“Bound To Ride”), Johnny Horton (“I’m Ready If You’re Willin’”) and George Jones (“I Cried Myself Awake”), banjo pyrotechnics (Luberecki’s own “Emergency Pulloff” and a blistering “Pike County Breakdown”) and well-crafted originals (“Like A Hawk,” “Then I Close My Eyes,” and “Lonely Town”).

Alongside these, the Night Drivers have laid in a selection of fan favorites, including Stoffel’s glistening take on The Sound Of Music’s ever-popular “Edelweiss” (followed by a lively turn on an old-time fiddle tune, “Forked Deer”), the gospel quartet of “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms,” and Luberecki’s comic tour de force, “Cabin Of Death,” one of the group’s most requested numbers.

A couple of guests make appearances—Sally Jones contributes harmonies to “Follow Your Heart,” and 2013 IBMA Momentum Vocalist of the Year Emily Bankester recaps her Lonely Comes Easy appearance on “Then I Close My Eyes”—with the focus all on the Night Drivers, who show conclusively that no studio magic is needed for them to deliver compelling performances. From start to finish, Live At The Old Feed Store delivers a faithful representation of a Chris Jones & The Night Drivers set, and as their busy schedule shows, that’s something that audiences are always eager to share.

The group celebrates the release on October 8th with a show at the recording venue, The Old Feed Store in Cobden, IL, followed by a Tennessee weekend that includes dates in Norris, the Fall Homecoming Festival at the Museum of Appalachia and Nashville’s Oktoberfest in Germantown. The band had notable appearances this year at Big Sky Big Grass, Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, MerleFest, DelFest, Bluegrass on the Plains, The Huck Finn Jubilee, Targhee Bluegrass Festival, Bean Blossom, and The Bourbon & Bluegrass Steamboat Tours. Big Sky Big Grass gets the award for the biggest on-stage jams with the Sam Bush Band and Del McCoury joined the Night Drivers on stage at DelFest to sing on “Wolf Creek Pass.” Luberecki was part of MerleFest’s First ever BanjoRama which was hosted by “Dr. Banjo” Pete Wernick. They’ll be traveling for a European tour for ten days in October of 2014 and will be on the road for dates throughout 2015.

Chris Jones & the Night Drivers on Tour
10/8 Wed – The Old Feed Store – Cobden, IL
10/10 Fri – Tennessee Fall Homecoming, Museum of Appalachia – Norris, TN
10/11 Sat – Kimbro’s Cafe 11am – Franklin, TN
10/11 Sat – Oktoberfest in Historic Germantown 4pm – Nashville, TN
10/22-27 – European Tour
11/15-16 Sat- Sun – Wickenburg Bluegrass & Fiddle Championship – Wickenburg, AZ
12/12: Bluegrass in the Smokies – Pigeon Forge, TN

For more information, tour dates and words from the road, please visit: chrisjonesgrass.com,  facebook.com/chrisjonesgrass, and twitter.com/chrisjonesgrass.

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Town Mountain. Photo by Jason Beverly.

Town Mountain. Photo by Jason Beverly.

Town Mountain is Honored to be Nominated For
“Emerging Artist of the Year”

In This Fall’s International Bluegrass Music Association’s Awards

Their New Album, Live At The Isis, Hits the Streets on August 19th
Recorded at Isis Music Hall in the Band’s Hometown of Asheville, NC

We are thrilled to announce that Town Mountain has been nominated for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 2014 Award for “Emerging Artist of The Year.” This nomination follows last years honor of receiving IBMA Momentum Awards for “Band of the Year” and lead singer Robert Greer for “Vocalist of the Year.” 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.

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’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.

“It’s a proud moment in Town Mountain’s history, for sure,” said banjoist Jesse Langlais to acclaimed journalist Derek Halsey after last year’s awards show. “We’re out there doing what we do because we love to play the music… it is really nice to be recognized by the IBMA and we have experienced some good things to come from it already. When you look at it as this big wheel that is spinning, the music industry wheel, it’s great and hopefully we can live up to those momentous expectations and I think we will. We will do what we can to help to carry the legacy of the music on and make the IBMA and all who believe in Town Mountain proud of what we do.”

TownMountain_LiveAtTheIsis_CoverLORESThey are set to release their first official live album, Town Mountain: 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].

Leave the Bottle, which was produced by Mike Bub, garnered the band much positive praise. Bluegrass Today’s David Morris says, “I’m not sure what the definition of bluegrass would be in words alone, but if that definition was set to music, it would probably sound something like Town Mountain’s Leave the Bottle… I could go on… There are no duds, and no filler songs on this project. But you get the point. This, my friends, is how bluegrass is supposed to sound.” The Bluegrass Situation’s Devon Leger repeats this reflection saying, “They play bluegrass. Period. They play it hard, they play it fast, and they play it like their fingers are bleeding and their picks are breaking.”

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 which will be out in early 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 the other videos from this session at:
http://secondstorygarage.com/town-mountain-perform-whiskey-tears-music-video/

They are currently touring the Northwest before a plethora of dates in northeast, the southern appalachian region, and the midwest. In the fall the band will be appearing at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, Watermelon Park Festival, IBMA’s World of Bluegrass Festival, 34th Annual Georgia MarbleFest and a host of other shows.

The band has been having an exciting year so far and have traveled far and wide including some notable appearances in 2014 at Wintergrass, Suwannee Springfest, Durango Bluegrass MeltDown, Music City Roots, MerleFest, Lake Eden Arts Festival, Graves Mountain Festival, Best of Bluegrass, California Bluegrass Association Father’s Day Festival, Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival, The Grey Fox Music Festival, Rockygrass and Targhee Bluegrass Festival, as well as a recent show at City Winery in Chicago supporting Ralph Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys.

Town Mountain is in it for the long haul… check out out where they’ll be travelin’ to this year and keep and eye on TownMountain.net for further dates and updates from the road at facebook.com/TownMountain and twitter.com/TownMountain.

Town Mountain on Tour 2014
8/15 Fri – The Nelson Odeon – Cazenovia, NY
8/16 Sat – Riverlink Park Summer Concert Series 2014-  Amsterdam, NY
8/17 Sun – Club Passim – Cambridge, MA
8/21 Thu – Cosmic Charlie’s – Lexington, KY
8/22 Fri – Isis Music Hall – Asheville, NC
8/29 Fri – Zanzabar – Louisville, KY
8/30 Sat – Red, White and Bluegrass At Holiday World – Santa Claus, IN
9/04 Thu – 8 x 10 – Baltimore, MD
9/05 Fri – Historic Blairstown Theater –  Blairstown, NJ
9/12-13 Fri-Sat  – Pickin’ in the Pines Bluegrass & Acoustic Music Fest – Flagstaff, AZ
9/20 Sat – Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion Bristol, TN
9/26 Fri – Watermelon Park Festival- Berryville, VA
9/27 Sat – Music Box Supper Club – Cleveland, OH
9/28 Sun – Rinky Dinks Roadhouse – Amity, PA
10/03 Fri – IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass – Raleigh, NC
10/04 Sat – 34th Annual Georgia MarbleFest – Marble, CO
10/15 Wed – Station Inn- Nashville, TN
10/16 Thu – The Southgate House Revival – Revival Room – Newport KY
10/17 Fri – Stoney Point Jamboree – Paris, KY
10/18 Sat – Historic Cowee School Concert Series – Franklin NC
10/23 Thu – Ashland Coffee and Tea – Ashland, VA
10/24 Fri – Gypsy Sally’s –  Washington DC
11/6-7 Thu-Fri – Riverhawk Music Festival – Brooksville, FL
11/14 Fri – Randy Wood Guitars – Bloomingdale, GA
11/24-12/05  Bluegrass Jamboree Tour in Germany & Czech Republic

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