In a May of 2019 Rolling Stone article, titled, Town Mountain Aren’t Worried About Appeasing Traditional Bluegrass Fans, the editor described your sound as, “more rock & roll than bluegrass and more honky-tonk than country.” What’s that hidden gem in your musical arsenal that sets your sound apart from others? How would you describe your sound to someone that’s never heard your music?
I think the main thing that sets us apart would probably the spirit with which we play our music. We try to play with a lot of energy and intention, and try to connect with the audience on a danceable level. That’s something that’s maybe not as prevalent with traditional 5 piece bluegrass instrumentation. And yes, country swing and early rock n roll are big influences on us as well so we incorporate all of that in our sound.
This year will be your first playing LOCKN’ and you’ll play a daytime set in Garcia’s Forest. Welcome to the LOCKN’ fam! The Garcia’s Forest provides a great chance to absorb the atmosphere of the festival, creating those euphoric moments that only come when music coincides with the sunshine and the trees. How exciting is it to know you’ll be playing in that unique environment?
How do you think it will positively impact your performance? No doubt we are super excited to experience Lockn’ for the first time! And yes, Garcia’s Forest sounds right up our ally! We definitely have some of our best shows when its a group of like-minded folks ready boogie.. we tend to feed off that energy of a dancing, inspired crowd. Add in a nice natural surrounding and its definitely a recipe for a great time all around!
In 2013, Town Mountain received the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Momentum Award for Band of the Year. What a spectacular achievement! Well done. How have you kept the momentum going since then?
We’ve kept the momentum up by working our tails off touring as much as we can. We’ve found that acoustic music can be kind of a niche market overall, so you’ve got to take the music to the people to make real fans and real connections. And we’ve done our best to keep delivering folks the best shows and best albums we possibly can.
Since the beginning, LOCKN’ has been deeply rooted in Grateful Dead culture. To honor the Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary, you recorded bluegrass versions of “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” and “Big River.” How has their music influenced your own artistry and career?
Like many bluegrass musicians I know, Jerry Garcia was a major gateway for me into bluegrass, roots and Americana music. I was definitely a Dead fan already but, I had a guitar teacher who recommended I listen to the Old & in the Way recordings and I was blown away by that sound. I kind of knew then that I wanted to pursue acoustic music in some form or fashion and hearing that band’s take on bluegrass laid the groundwork for me. And it opened up my ears to so many other bands and people I would now consider musical heroes.