Thu, Dec 14 • 7:00PM
The Music Room
ASHEVILLE HOLIDAY HANG WITH TOWN MOUNTAIN & THE HONEYCUTTERS
MERMAID MOTOR LOUNGE
$10 IN ADVANCE / $13 DAY OF / $60 VIP TABLES
ASHEVILLE HOLIDAY HANG
Town Mountain and Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters, two stellar bands from Asheville, North Carolina, are teaming up for the Asheville Holiday Hang as a run of shows in the Southeast, sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Company. Ashvegas’ Caleb Calhoun calls them, “a match made in heaven.”
“Over the past few years, New Belgium and Town Mountain have forged a relationship that goes well beyond making great music and good beer. The partnership has been one that ties to both organizations philanthropic roots at a time of year where people need it the most, the holidays,” says New Belgium Brewing Employee Owner, Trey Wheeler. New Belgium Brewing Company will be running specials at each of the shows and adding to the financial donation to MANNA FoodBank.
Town Mountain says, “For us the holiday season seems like a great time to celebrate playing music with friends as well as giving back to the community that has supported us through the years.” The Asheville Holiday Hang originated as a holiday benefit in Asheville and is heading into its 6th year with the hometown Asheville show taking place at The Orange Peel for the first time. Both bands and The Orange Peel are teaming up and donating 20% of ticket sales from that show to MANNA FoodBank!
MANNA FoodBank is a private, not-for-profit service organization, that links the food industry with over 200 partner agencies in 16 counties of WNC. MANNA is an acronym and stands for Mountain Area Nutritional Needs Alliance. They are a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization. For 35 years, Feeding America has responded to the hunger crisis in America by providing food to people in need through a nationwide network of food banks with the motto, “Together we can solve hunger.”
“MANNA is excited to partner with Town Mountain again for the fifth consecutive year. Their Holiday Hang show has become a ‘Must See’ holiday tradition for dozens of fans in our MANNA community.” Alisa Hixson, Director Corporate Engagement & Signature Events at MANNA FoodBank, says,”Their support has provided for over 6,000 meals in WNC and their desire to keep giving back to their community epitomizes the mindset of the Asheville community. They’re a powerhouse of musicians harnessing their talent to help their neighbors, the perfect holiday story!”
Last year, Town Mountain paired with The Honeycutters and decided to bring the Holiday Hang on the road to other cities they both frequent and have grown friendships and fans in. The tradition continues this year and are excited to expand the scope of the Holiday Hang with a longer run of shows through the Southeast including Rocky Mount, Virginia, Greer and Charleston, South Carolina, Atlanta, Georgia, and Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina.
Not only is the event traveling to additional cities, but with the help of Feeding America (of which MANNA is a part of) the bands are donating partial proceeds from each show to a food bank from that area.
Town Mountain and Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters Family Holiday Photo 2017
Town Mountain and The Honeycutters have long been close friends and each band has a different sound to offer The Holiday Hang. Both have their own spin on what Americana is today. You’ll be sure to hear bluegrass, country, and rock influences coming from each band. As in years past there will be a jam at the end of each night where they join together in the collaborative spirit of the Asheville music scene.
“On the surface, a joint tour between the bluegrass combo Town Mountain and the alt-country band The Honeycutters might seem like an odd fit. Town Mountain’s dizzying all-acoustic instrumental skills and tight vocal harmonies recall the great early bluegrass groups like The Stanley Brothers or Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, while The Honeycutters’ rougher brand of twangy heartbreak is perfect for the honky-tonk,” says Greenville Journal’s Vincent Harris.
“We just go back a long way in the Asheville music scene; we’re friends in that way. And I think that we’re both bands with roots in more traditional forms of music. We can be put into genres, but at the same time, ‘Americana’ describes what both of us do,” Platt says in an interview with the Greenville Journal. “Obviously, Town Mountain plays bluegrass and The Honeycutters have origins in classic country, but we’re both very song-oriented. Town Mountain has three great songwriters that share the songwriting duties, and in The Honeycutters I’m all about the song.”
Raw, soulful & with plenty of swagger, Town Mountain releases 5th album, Southern Crescent, on April 1, 2016 on LoHi Records
Produced by Dirk Powell at his Cypress House studio in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Go Behind The Scenes with Town Mountain In “The Making of Southern Crescent” → https://youtu.be/VZD7avVtI4U
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.
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.
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.
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.
AMANDA ANNE PLATT & THE HONEYCUTTERS
“We’re switching things up a little. After four albums I’ve decided to step out and start using my own name. It’s something that a lot of people have encouraged me to do over the years, and I guess that 2017 just felt right.” That name, Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters, is also the title of the band’s new album, which will be released by Organic Records on June 9, 2017. “We’re keeping The Honeycutters too because we don’t want to confuse people…really, we’ve always been Amanda Anne Platt and the Honeycutters. I think I’ve just gotten to a place where I feel comfortable enough to be in the spotlight.”
Lyrically driven, the songs on Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters blend the band’s old-school country roots attitude with their shared influences of rock and folk. Amanda says of the album, “I think it’s just about life and all that that entails. Including but not limited to death, strangers, birthdays, money, leaving, arriving, seasons, corruption, and love.”
Performing along with Platt, The Honeycutters are Matt Smith on pedal steel and Stratocaster, Rick Cooper on bass, Josh Milligan on drums and harmony vocals, and Evan Martin on keys and Telecaster.
Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters is the group’s third release on Organic Records, and fifth album. Assembling the same the same team as 2016’s On The Ropes Balsam Range’s Tim Surrett steps in for the second time to co-produce this album along with Amanda. Its thirteen tracks were recorded, mixed, and mastered by Scott Barnett at Crossroads Studios in Arden, NC.
There is an empathetic and charming wit engrained in Amanda’s songwriting. She has a knack for accessing a deep well of emotion and applying it to her story-telling, whether she is writing from her own experiences or immersing herself into the melody of emotions in another person’s life.
In the lead off track, “Birthday Song,” Amanda writes with a gentle optimism, “Every time it gets colder I get another year older… I start looking for lines in the bathroom mirror… but when I lay down at night I swear I must have done something right… cause I’m still so damn glad to be here… I’ve been trying to love the questions, and keep on guessing.” Written just before her 30th birthday, Platt calls the song, “a summation of everything I learned in that decade.”
There is an easygoing warmth to the album, enhanced by the its refined arrangement and production; from the upbeat “Diamond in the Rough” to the poetic and observational “Eden” to the very personal, yet universal, “Brand New Start” to “Late Summer’s Child” (an ode to her favorite season) and “Rare Thing” (a song commissioned from Platt from a fan as a love song to his wife that ended up being included on the album. “Your mama said that it would never last… but these years go by so fast… and you’re the song I’m humming to myself as I’m counting the miles… you’re such a rare thing.”) One can feel it even in songs with a more solemn concept behind them like, like “Long Ride,” which speaks of living in the moment in the face of mortality.
Platt wrote “Learning How To Love Him” after hearing an acquaintance of hers talk about learning that her husband of 40+ years was terminally ill. She says, “What really struck me was how she described the tenderness that the news brought back to their relationship.” Amanda sings, “’I woke last night and I felt so afraid, I turned on the light and shook him awake and we stared at the ceiling, listening to the sink drip… I spent my whole life learning how to love him and I never loved him more than I do today.”
The successes of On The Ropes  and Me Oh My  have propelled Anna Anne Platt and The Honeycutters onto the national scene and they have been featured on NPR’s World Cafe’s Sense of Place, NPR’s Mountain Stage, Nashville’s Music City Roots, and Folk Alley and they have performed at AmericanaFest, MerleFest, and IBMA. On The Ropes debuted at #39 on iTunes Top 40 Country Chart on release day and landed on a plethora of year end lists including placing #35 on the Top 100 Albums played on Americana Radio in 2016 and landing at #1 on Western North Carolina’s WNCW Radio’s Year End Listeners Poll of Top Albums of 2016!
On The Ropes hit #11 on the EuroAmericana Chart and The UK’s Julian Piper with Acoustic Magazine says, “Amanda Platt has one of those gorgeous heartache-drenched voices that brings to mind Loretta Lynn or Sheryl Crow.”
Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters plan to tour extensively in US this year and will travel to Europe for the first time in the summer. They are excited to release Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters to the world this spring!
MERMAID MOTOR LOUNGE
Depending on the lore, Mermaids are saints and saviors, or they’re muses and murderers. Josh Erwin is hosting them all at the Mermaid Motor Lounge. Delivering songs of damning relief as well as happy despair, Mermaid Motor Lounge is releasing their debut album, “Fits and Starts,” an opportunity for Erwin to perform churning and bumping rhythms along with atmospheric and dreamy melodies.
There is a cohesiveness to this collection of songs on “Fits and Starts.” The local coloring of reverbs on electric guitars and fiddles have just as an important of a role as the percussion. The melody lines lie easily on a bed of guitar, bass, and background vocals. These songs have a comforting familiarity, but there are still some unexpected musical shifts that keeps a listener on his toes. The theme of this album was to make the music dynamic by working with non-standard rock band instrumentation. By only relying on acoustic guitar, upright bass, vocals, electric guitars, fiddle, and percussion instruments it allowed the production to be more thought out. Oftentimes, nontraditional percussion adds great flavors to music that is not captured by a standard 4 piece drum kit. Nonetheless, a drum kit was used on the track, “The Preacher Tampered With The Radar”-- too tempting to pass up a 28" marching kick drum thundering through the back beat.
Nine songs were recorded at Standard Electric Studios by Damon Moon, who co-produced the album alongside Josh Erwin. Josh (guitars and vocals), Troy Harris (basses), Jenna Mobley (fiddle and background vocals), and Colin Agnew (percussion) performed all the music on the album. Damon was at the helm of Tascam M-600 serial #001 helm, turning knobs on the Echoplex EP-3 and Space Echo RE-201 [for all the fun stuff], and supervised vocal mic selections, compressors, and other dynamic effects.
At first, Mermaid Motor Lounge was purely a challenge to showcase a live-show based around Erwin’s own material on his own alongside Harris. The experimentation with new songs performed with only guitar, vocals, and bass on stage was too seductive to leave in the hypothetical. The sustain-elements of electric guitar and fiddle shape and form the music’s sonic-space, while the percussion carries the songs along.
Together, Josh and Troy have played thousands of shows and bear copious on-stage experience. With their powers funneled into a full band experience, Mermaid Motor Lounge performances are fueled by an instinct that's been building up over years and years.