Sunday, December 4, 2011

Town Mountain and The Freight Hoppers @ The Grey Eagle

                                                                                                                                                                     Two of the finest String Bands in the mountains came together on Friday night at The Grey Eagle in Asheville.

The Freight Hoppers are from Bryson City, NC and play Old Time and Traditional tunes from the 1920's and 1930's. David Bass (fiddle) and Frank Lee (banjo, guitar, vocals) have been together since the Freight Hoppers started their Great Smokey Mountain Railroad gig in 1993. After a hiatus of seven or eight years, the band regrouped in 2007 with Issac Deal (guitar,vocals) and Bradley Adams (bass).
Town Mountain is, without a doubt, our favorite Asheville area bluegrass band. Black Betty and I try not to miss a local show with this smoking hot, bluegrass band. Their rawness and grit manages to get under your skin, and you become a convert after one Town Mountain show. Their rough around-the-edges sound fueled by Robert Greer's outstanding vocals and the band's skilled licks keep us coming back for more.

Town Mountain's strength and appeal lies in their ability to keep it real and gritty while refusing to allow their sound to become a polished out white-bread Nashville caricature of bluegrass music. This is working man's grass, it's the real deal!  They feature outstanding original tunes penned  by banjo player Jesse Langlais and mandolin player Phil Barker; they also do some great covers, including Bruce Springsteen and John Anderson. If you are extremely fortunate, you may even hear Robert Greer sing a heart-wrenching version of the Grateful Dead's Brokedown Palace. Their newest CD is Steady Operator.