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Town Mountain: The Dead Session Artwork by Taylor Swope

Town Mountain: The Dead Session
Artwork by Taylor Swope

Town Mountain: The Dead Session Released Today, Nov 13th
Featuring Bluegrass Renditions of “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” & “Big River”

Honoring the Grateful Dead’s 50th, Bluegrass-Style!

Get the full package with the fantastic album artwork by Taylor Swope over at the band’s website: www.townmountain.net/product/the-dead-session

Or you can purchase downloads of each track online at iTunes: http://bit.ly/TownMoutain_TheDeadSession_iTunes

Town Mountain independently released The Dead Session on Friday, November 13, 2015. Each member of this band has enjoyed the music of the Grateful Dead for quite some time,” says vocalist and guitarist Robert Greer. “It seemed only fitting for Town Mountain to pay respect to some musical heroes in this year, their 50th year of existence.” The band recorded an impromptu set of two of their favorite songs from the Grateful Dead’s catalog at the widely acclaimed Echo Mountain Recording Studios in their hometown of Asheville, NC.

This is the Grateful Dead done in Town Mountains hard drivin’ style filled with a honky tonk edge and barroom swagger. The resulting sound is touched by Jerry Garcia with Jimmy Martin and John Hartford… Fitting since Hartford played a short stint in Old and In The Way before Vassar Clements filled out the band on fiddle, and Garcia’s first instrument was a banjo as he was influenced by bluegrass music throughout his career. Narrowing down to just two was not an easy task for Town Mountain.

Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” was written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter and originally released on Wake of the Flood in 1973. It was performed over 230 times live by The Dead over the years and the song was also the second set opener of the second night of the Fare Thee Well shows in Santa Clara this year.

“Big River” was written by Johnny Cash in 1958. But true to The Dead’s fashion they would take other people’s songs or traditional songs and make them their own. They had a knack for finding covers that were transcendent of the original artist and they played it in almost 400 live performances. Stream Town Mountain’s Version of “Big River” at The Bluegrass Situation.

Town Mountain. Photo by Sandlin Gaither.

Town Mountain. Photo by Sandlin Gaither.

The core of Town Mountain is Robert Greer on vocals and guitar, Jesse Langlais on banjo and vocals, Bobby Britt on fiddle, Phil Barker on mandolin and vocals, and Adam Chaffins on bass (Adam is featured on “Mississippi”). Evan Martin plays drums on both tracks. Jon Stickley fills in on bass and guitar in “Big River” and Jack Deveroux lays down the pedal steel on “Big River.”

Read what’s been being said about Town Mountain: The Dead Session

“In one of the more novel stop-gap moves by a band in any genre, Town Mountain is filling the time it takes to search out a record label home for its newest studio set [Produced by Dirk Powell, due out Spring of 2016] by re-releasing a two-song EP disc on Nov. 13 called The Dead Session. It consists not of new original works showcasing the band’s heavily rhythmic, traditionally-minded bluegrass or even revisions of traditional Americana string band tunes. It instead offers a pair of honky tonk-hearty renditions of two songs by one of Town Mountain’s favorite non-bluegrass inspirations: the Grateful Dead.” —Kentucky.com, Walter Tunis

“There is no question that Town Mountain’s musicianship is fantastic. More importantly, it is also clear that they love the Grateful Dead enough to do them homage on their 50th anniversary, not by trying to be them, but by succeeding in reworking their Dead favorites as their own.” —Rock and Roll Meandering Nonsense, Bob Vinyl

“I was lucky enough to design the cover art,” says Taylor Swope about the The Making of Town Mountain’s Dead Session Album Art. “Like everything should, this project started with a basic sketch…It’s all about experimentation with this kind of illustration work… With the scene set, I began filling in the details, but the last one came from Martin Anderson at WNCW in North Carolina who suggested the Raven…There is a lyric in the Grateful Dead’s Uncle John’s Band that goes, ‘It’s the same story the crow told me; it’s the only one he knows.’ Also there was this album art once upon a time, so the crow appears here and there in Grateful Dead imagery although it never quite caught on like the icons you already know…”

“While the band’s sound hews closely to bluegrass traditions, there’s enough virtuosity to make them popular among jam band circles as well. It doesn’t hurt that the band recently recorded two Grateful Dead covers to honor the founding fathers of jam’s 50th birthday.” —Examiner, Chris Griffy

“You didn’t really think that a remake of Tommy bluegrass style  [The HillBenders]  would be the end of it, did you? Now here comes Town Mountain with The Dead Session, a special two-track project celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Grateful Dead. … the old school single features a pair of Dead songs done up bluegrass, Town Mountain style.” —Bluegrass Today John Lawless

“Wow, I like these hard-core acoustic honky-tonk takes on two Grateful Dead favorites!” —David Gans, musician and co-author of This Is All a Dream We Dreamed: An Oral History of the Grateful Dead.

Great Excerpt from a feature on Town Mountain’s Jesse Langlais in The Banjo Reserve:

Q. “Town Mountain is releasing a couple Grateful Dead songs in November 2015, I understand the Grateful Dead are among some of the classic rock bands you listened to when you were younger. Jerry Garcia was known to play banjo, did you or Jerry’s banjo playing have much influence over selecting these releases? Tell us more about the project?” –TBR

A. I still listen to the Grateful Dead and will continue to as long as I can hear.

Here’s a brief story of how I got into bluegrass and the banjo. I’m definitely not the only one with this story. When I was 19 or so I bought an Old and In The Way CD. I was washing dishes at my parents house and when that first song came on, ‘Pig in a Pen’, I was floored. I probably dropped what was in my hands and just sat there in awe. My bluegrass journey had begun and I wasn’t going back.

I’m from Maine, and even though there is a bluegrass scene in New England it was not a part of my upbringing. It wasn’t something that I even heard until I bought the Old and In The Way CD. I couldn’t even have defined what it was up until that point. All I knew was when I heard it that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to make that noise, that sound. I wanted to pick and pluck the banjo from that point on. Jerry took my hand and guided me to somewhere I had never been before. Soon after that I was introduced to the first generation of bluegrass and that’s when I really started to dig into the history and sound of bluegrass.” —Read the full interview with Town Mountain’s Jesse Langlais at The Banjo Reserve → www.banjoreserve.com/index.php/artists/item/98-jesse-langlais

Watch behind-the-scene footage of Town Mountain recording The Dead Session at Echo Mountain

Town Mountain is in it for the long haul… check out out where they’ll be travelin’ to next and keep an eye on TownMountain.net for further dates as well as a brand new selection of merchandise. For updates from the road, please visit facebook.com/TownMountain, twitter.com/TownMountain, and instagram.com/townmountainbluegrass.

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Town Mountain: The Dead Session Artwork by Taylor Swope

Town Mountain: The Dead Session
Artwork by Taylor Swope

To Honor the Grateful Dead in the year of the band’s 50th Anniversary
Town Mountain recorded bluegrass versions of two of their favorite Grateful Dead songs

Town Mountain: The Dead Session
Features “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” & “Big River
Due Out Fri, Nov 13th

“Wow, I like these hard-core acoustic honky-tonk takes on two Grateful Dead favorites!” —David Gans, musician and co-author of This Is All a Dream We Dreamed: An Oral History of the Grateful Dead.”

Town Mountain is excited to announce the independent release of Town Mountain: The Dead Session on Friday, November 13, 2015. Each member of this band has enjoyed the music of the Grateful Dead for quite some time,” says vocalist and guitarist Robert Greer. “It seemed only fitting for Town Mountain to pay respect to some musical heroes in this year, their 50th year of existence.” They recorded an impromptu set of two of their favorite songs from the Grateful Dead’s catalog, “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” and “Big River” at the widely acclaimed Echo Mountain Recording Studios in their hometown of Asheville, NC.

This is the Grateful Dead done in Town Mountains hard drivin’ style filled with a honky tonk edge and barroom swagger. The resulting sound is touched by Jerry Garcia with Jimmy Martin and John Hartford… Fitting since Hartford played a short stint in Old and In The Way before Vassar Clements filled out the band on fiddle, and Garcia’s first instrument was a banjo as he was influenced by bluegrass music throughout his career. Narrowing down to just two was not an easy task for Town Mountain.

“What can I say about “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo”? It’s just perfect. Lyrically it’s amazing,” says banjoist Jesse Langlais. “Robert Hunter can be so descriptive yet so vague in the point he’s trying to get across. Which is great for the audience because it allows listeners to choose what they want the song to be about. In my opinion that’s what a good songwriter does. He leaves the song open to interpretation.”

Langlais says, “Musically, Mississippi was extremely fun to play with exciting changes and a lot going on melodically… almost like there’s two songs in one. On the original studio version of this song Vassar Clements plays fiddle. Bobby and I tried to mimic the interplay that Jerry and Vassar had on it. This is just an amazing song, and and it made sense for us to record it because it had a bluegrass master involved. We adopted it into Town Mountain’s repertoire without changing the integrity of the song.”

“Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloowas written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter and originally released on Wake of the Flood in 1973. It was performed over 230 times live by The Dead over the years and the song was also the second set opener of the second night of the Fare Thee Well shows in Santa Clara this year.

Big River” was written by Johnny Cash in 1958. But true to The Dead’s fashion they would take other people’s songs or traditional songs and make them their own. They had a knack for finding covers that were transcendent of the original artist and they played it in almost 400 live performances.

“We’ve always liked their version of country music. Even their original albums we’re steeped in that sound. Workingman’s Dead is full of country music influence,” explains Langlais. “The Dead kept the sentiment of ‘Big River’ but translated it to make an audience who may not have known what country music was love it. That audience for them was typically a younger more rock or jam influenced fan but they still ended up knowing the song and singing along.” “Big River” fits right into Town Mountain’s sound and wheelhouse.

Town Mountain. Photo by Sandlin Gaither.

Town Mountain. Photo by Sandlin Gaither.

The core of Town Mountain is Robert Greer on vocals and guitar, Jesse Langlais on banjo and vocals, Bobby Britt on fiddle, Phil Barker on mandolin and vocals, and Adam Chaffins on bass (Adam is featured on “Mississippi”). Evan Martin plays drums on both tracks. Jon Stickley fills in on bass and guitar in “Big River” and Jack Deveroux lays down the pedal steel on “Big River.”

For the cover art, Town Mountain turned to long time Grateful Dead artist Taylor Swope. Taylor has been creating official Grateful Dead art since the former VP of Grateful Dead Productions discovered her in a parking lot at a show in 2003 and offered her a license on the spot. Her work has become iconic in it’s own right, having become widely associated with the generations of Deadheads who have grown up in the wake of Jerry Garcia’s passing.

Riding the wave of excitement that followed Fare Thee Well where her poster was one of only four featured at both stadiums, and sharing Town Mountain’s deep appreciation for American roots music, Taylor says she “thoroughly enjoyed creating this image. I am obsessed with swimming and water in general, so when Town Mountain asked me to draw them a river with a Steal Your Face, it was a natural fit.”

Town Mountain is no stranger to playing covers, and what has become one of the group’s more memorable live performance songs is their version of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire,” which they first recorded in 2008’s Heroes & Heretics. Town Mountain’s version “I’m On Fire” has reached over 1 Million listeners on Spotify and has garnered over 430,000 views.

Town Mountain is also prolific in songwriting; each member contributes their well-supplied vat of original material. They are finalizing their next studio release which was produced and engineered by GRAMMY winner Dirk Powell in his studio, The Cypress House, in south Louisiana. For a sneak peek at what to expect on the future album, watch the band perform a new original song, “Wildbird,” in this wonderful session filmed by Hype Music Festivals at the 2015 Suwannee Springfest in Live Oak, FL →  http://bit.ly/Wildbird_byTownMountain_HYPE.

Town Mountain is in it for the long haul… check out out where they’ll be travelin’ to next and keep an eye on TownMountain.net for further dates as well as a brand new selection of merchandise. For updates from the road, please visit facebook.com/TownMountain, twitter.com/TownMountain, and instagram.com/townmountainbluegrass

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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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Town Mountain 2013 Photo #1-HI RES-by Jason Beverly

Town Mountain is Robert Greer on vocals & guitar, Jesse Langlais on banjo and vocals, Phil Barker on mandolin & vocals, Bobby Britt on fiddle, & Jake Hopping on upright bass. Photo by Jason Beverly.

Town Mountain’s ‘I’m on Fire’ Featured on The Bluegrass Situation,
Runnin’ From The Lawdog

Hard Drivin’ Carolina String Band, Town Mountain, is touring with their fourth album, Leave the Bottle [Pinecastle 2012]. Want to know what it is like to be on the road with Town Mountain? Arthur Hancock writes about his experience traveling with the band on The Bluegrass Situation. He says, “What I’ve come to learn by spending time with the band is that they share a deep reverence for the players and singers that are the foundation of bluegrass music. Although sometimes late at night driving back from a gig ‘Purple Rain’ might come on the iPod, most of the time you’d be more likely to hear The Gillis Brothers, early Stanleys, or a live recording of Town Mountain that they are poring over in pursuit of their craft.”

The Bluegrass Situation also premiered the band’s official backstage video of their version of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” in the same post. Read the article and see the video here http://bit.ly/132c2bS

This video is the first installment of the new “Town Mountain Covers Series” hosted by The Bluegrass Situation. They’ll do two or three more cover songs of their choice and then let the audience chime in with suggestions on what cover song they would like to hear Town Mountain do. Stay tuned to The Bluegrass Situation for more details as the festival season unfolds!

“I’m On Fire,” is a song that has been in Town Mountain’s repertoire for years and was recorded on their 2008 album Heroes & Heretics; the band has continued to play and develop their version at live shows. After a nice mention about their version of the “I’m On Fire” in Pop Matters [2012] and a shout out from Dale Earnhardt Jr to check out the song when he took over the National Guard’s twitter account in November of 2012, it has resurfaced into the public eye. A YouTube video with the track, which simply shows Heroes & Heretics’s album cover, has garnered 100,000+ views. We are happy to present an official backstage video of the band performing the song.

“They pick and sing with a passion you don’t find much these days, it’s refreshing and real good.  Put the cd in the truck, hit the parkway or some other good riding road, roll the windows down, and play it loud. PS. Watch out for the lawdog,” says John Roten of WPEK/WMXF.

All of the members of Town Mountain are songwriters and bring original tunes to the band’s sound. One notable song,  “Lawdog,” is a song from the road that opens a cappella and is sung and written by Barker in the manner of Jimmy Martin; it is relatable to anyone that inevitably gets pulled over while trying to make good time traveling. Juli Thanks writes, Phil Barker’s ‘Lawdog’ sounds like an unearthed classic, and the group’s tight harmonies alone make this record a treat for any bluegrass fan.” She listed Leave the Bottle on the Top 20 Bluegrass Albums of 2012 by Engine 145 and said, “This is one up and coming band you’ll want to keep an eye on in 2013 and beyond.”

WATCH Town Mountain perform “Lawdog” live on WAMU–>

Town Mountain is chasin’ the horizon this summer and heading to a town near you from the east to the west, from the deep south to close to the Canadian border.

For more information about Town Mountain and their current tour dates, please visit TownMountain.net and facebook.com/TownMountain.

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