REVIEW: Town Mountain Delivers Sharp Bluegrass and Lyrics on ‘New Freedom Blues’

Reviews

Town Mountain has generally been known as a bluegrass band. On the new album New Freedom Blues (Tone Tree Music), the band weaves some country and rock sounds into the base bluegrass sound.

If one of the keys to successful writing is to grab the audience’s attention immediately, then this band succeeds with the opening line of the title track, “I start my morning in the middle of the afternoon with yesterday’s coffee and a little smoke to get me through.” This song has the traditional bluegrass sound for which this band is known. Jesse Langlais’s banjo is the most prominent instrument in the song, but Zach Smith lays down a bass line that really helps the song chug along.

Lost of songs have been written about financial struggles. Town Mountain includes one entitled “Life and Debt.” “Life and debt – two things that seem to get along.” This song is driven by an uptempo beat provided by Miles Miller and a walking bass line. All the while you hear some quick and clean picking that might make you want to pick up the banjo. On top of all of the instruments, the lyrics are about as well as anyone has ever described being poor. One clever line after another is delivered, including, “Standing in the red, looking at the black. It’s a doggone shame when you lose your stack. It’s a cryin’ shame you won’t get it back.” Perhaps the hardest-hitting line is “All the money’s in the politicians’ hands.”

“Down Low” is a duet co-written by and featuring Tyler Childers. This one still has bluegrass elements – especially in the the fiddle part provided by Bobby Britt, the mandolin played by Phil Barker and the banjo. However, there is a real rock element in this song too. The instrumental break features a guitar sound and some sustained notes that would fit just as well in a Lucero song.

This is a really strong album made by impressive musicians and produced by Caleb Klauder. You don’t have to hear a lot of the album to know for certain that these guys are experts with their instruments. New Freedom Blues will be available everywhere on October 26. Order your copy here.

Tour Dates (some with Tyler Childers)
Oct 26 – Charleston, SC – Charleston Music Hall
Oct 27 – Raleigh, NC – The Pour House Music Hall
Oct 28 – Harrisonburg, VA – Spirit of the Valley Festival
Nov 1 – Louisville, KY – Zanzabar
Nov 2 – Indianapolis, IN – Duke’s Indy
Nov 3 – Peninsula, OH – G.A.R. Hall
Nov 4 – Newport, KY – Southgate House Revival
Nov 9 – Roanoke, VA – Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers
Nov 10 – Leesburg, VA – Tally Ho Theater
Nov 17 – Huntington, WV – The V Club
Nov 30 – Greer, SC – The Spinning Jenny
Dec 1 – Winston Salem, NC – The Ramkat
Dec 6 – Harrisonburg, VA – The Clementine Cafe
Dec 8 – Virginia Beach, VA – Zeiders American Dream Theater
Dec 11 – Tulsa, OK – Cain’s Ballroom *
Dec 12 – New Braunfels, TX – Gruene Hall *
Dec 13 – New Braunfels, TX – Gruene Hall *
Dec 15 – Oklahoma City, OK – Tower Theatre *
Dec 16 – Dallas, TX – The Rustic *
* with Tyler Childers
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