Town Mountain: There's Never A Last Ride In The Van

Banjo player Jesse Langlais chuckled when he first saw the question about Town Mountain as a bluegrass finishing school. It is true that the band has had a lot of members come and go over their 11+ years, and many have done quite well after their tenure in this five piece from Asheville, NC. It is also true that once you are Town Mountain member, there is a reunion somewhere in your future. There is never a last ride in the van: once you play in the band, you are like family.

Arthur Grimes buck dances with Town Mountain at MerleFest in 2018

Arthur Grimes buck dances with Town Mountain at MerleFest in 2018

As tightly knit and warm as they are, there is also an edge and a swagger to Town Mountain. All five members are well versed in the bluegrass tradition, but they also have some rock and roll in them, and the dexterity to weave these influences together seamlessly. With the addition of drums, and a song co-written by and featuring Tyler Childers on their latest album New Freedom Blues, they show their ability to stay true to the music of icons like Bill Monroe and Jimmy Martin while building something altogether new. I spoke with Jesse, mandolin player Phil Barker and bassist Zach Smith, their producer Caleb Klauder and others in this episode which features album tracks and live tunes from the band. Plus, a wee bit of The Police and R.E.M. It really does make sense once you hear it, we promise.

Thanks to the friendly folks at The Bywater in Asheville for hosting our interview session, to Sarah Bennett at All Eyes Media for helping set up the interview and for being on the show herself, and to Caleb Klauder and Jerry McNeely for taking the time to talk with me also. Thanks to Osiris for carrying us on their network, and to Bluegrass Planet Radio for airing this series too.

We appreciate everyone who listens, and especially those who spread awareness for this series and the artists and music professionals we profile. Giving us a good rating and comment on podcast platforms like Apple Podcast makes us quite grateful, and we would count you as a total rock star if you joined us as a patron or sponsor.

Next up? A bit of a departure, as we take a deep dive into the song “Wagon Wheel” and talk with artists who played it. Drop us a line if you have a story to tell! - Joe Kendrick

The Jon Stickley Trio Podcast

In this episode we dive deep into the conversation and live music of the Jon Stickley Trio that we recorded at the Spring Skunk Music Festival earlier this year, which was excerpted in the video released earlier with Grae Skye Studio. This podcast also features former bandmates of the trio, with Robert Greer of Town Mountain, Brett Johnson, formerly of Atmosphere, Mike Ashworth, now with Steep Canyon Rangers, and Galen Kipar all reflecting on their time playing with Jon, Patrick and Lyndsay. We also highlight some of the music of all of those artists as we go.

(L to R) Lyndsay Pruett, Jon Stickley and Patrick Armitage

(L to R) Lyndsay Pruett, Jon Stickley and Patrick Armitage

This episode is sponsored by Dynamite Roasting, organic and fair trade coffee, and we’re sponsored by you when you support Southern Songs and Stories on our Patreon page, or directly on our website, with links to both in the right column on this page. We’re glad you’re with us, and hope you may support the music of the Jon Stickley Trio and other artists you enjoy hearing here, and can spread awareness of their work as well as ours at Southern Songs and Stories.