Town Mountain Brings Blue Ridge Bluegrass To The Charleston Pour House
Written By Miranda Steadman
Tonight, Asheville based bluegrass band Town Mountain will travel down from the mountains to play The Charleston Pour House once again. Town Mountain mandolin player and South Carolina native, Phil Barker, grew up in Greenville and began playing in the band in 2007. Phil went to see Leftover Salmon live while he was in high school and became super interested in live music following this experience. "We thrive in a live setting where we can connect with the audience and try to have a little fun," Barker believes. A little fun is quite an understatement. "We pride ourselves in having a dance element that sets our shows apart from hearing other bluegrass bands play live," he explains. "I consider this the best arrangement we've ever had," Phil admits.
The Town Mountain outfit currently consists of Jesse Langlais picking the banjo, Bobby Britt playing the fiddle, Zach Smith slapping the bass and Robert Greer strumming guitar and singing, in addition to Phil Barker on the mandolin. The band will perform in their hometown this Saturday, July twenty seventh at The Orange Peel. They also enjoy playing at other Asheville, NC venues like The Grey Eagle and The Pisgah Brewery. They even had the honor of opening up for Leftover Salmon at Pisgah Brewery two years ago. Lately, the guys of Town Mountain have been busy prepping for an extensive summer tour out west.
On the first of August, Town Mountain will perform at the Sisters Folk Festival Summer Concert Series in Sisters, Oregon. They are excited to travel to Happy Valley, Oregon, located just outside Portland, to play Pickathon for their fourth time on Labor Day weekend. The unique lineup includes up and coming favorites such as Tyler Childers. The music festival features cool stages nested in the woods with lights in the trees and imaginative stage designs. Next, the band travels to Seattle, Washington to play Tractor Tavern. From there, they head to Whitefish, Montana to perform at The Great Northern Bar & Grill, followed by a Top Hat Lounge show in Missoula, Montana. August ninth through eleventh, Town Mountain will perform live at The Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival in Alta, Wyoming in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Performing artists at the festival include Railroad Earth, Greensky Bluegrass, Sam Bush, The Del McCoury Band, The Travelin' McCourys and The Infamous Stringdusters.
While in college, Phil attended live shows of bluegrass greats Del McCoy, Sam Bush and David Grisman. He now considers these artists some of his greatest musical influences. "They've inspired a whole generation of mandolin players and musicians in general," Barker declared. He recalls seeing The Del McCoury's, comprised of Del McCoury and his two sons Rob and Ronnie, perform live at Horizon Records in Greenville. Other musical influences include Jimmy Martin, Bill Monroe, The Band, and The Grateful Dead. Phil loves listening to Old & In The Way, with Jerry Garcia playing the banjo and David Grisman on mandolin.