Town Mountain returns to Lexington, will continue playing in June

Matt Wickstrom

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After having to cancel its January show in Lexington due to an impending snowstorm, Town Mountain returned to Cosmic Charlie’s Wednesday night with support from Kentucky group Whiskey Bent Valley Boys and their new album, “Southern Crescent,” in hand.

The group is composed of Phil Barker on mandolin, Robert Greer on guitar, and Jesse Langlais manning the banjo.

Absent from the North Carolina string band’s lineup on their “Southern Crescent” tour is fiddler Bobby Britt, who is a full-time student in Boston at the Berklee College of Music.

Filling in for Britt on tour is fellow Asheville native Jack Devereux.

The group’s fifth member, Adam Chaffins, plays upright bass, and is a Morehead State alumnus originally from Louisa, Kentucky. Chaffins only tours with Town Mountain.

Nick Disebastian can be heard performing on bass on the group’s albums.

According to Barker, most of the compositions for “Southern Crescent” had been stage tested prior to taking them to the studio.

When Town Mountain was ready to record, they headed down to Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, to team up with Dirk Powell, a Grammy award winner and owner of The Cypress House recording studio.

For the album, the Town Mountain folks decided to record in a stripped-down setting, using few over-dubs and other fixes.

“We wanted to give the people, our fans, a product of what our live show experience is like, and paint the picture of the band as we sound, and not as studio tricks can make you sound,” Langlais said.

One of the catchiest new songs in this chapter of Town Mountain’s musical journey is “I Miss the Night.”

The tune was penned by Langlais and long-time Americana artist Mark Bumgarner after spending time in Alaska on tour when Town Mountain played the Midnight Sun Folk Festival in Nome, Alaska in 2014, during the summer solstice.

“It was 23 hours of non-stop light, playing football at four in the morning and staying up way later and earlier than we probably should have,” Langlais said. “When I got home I was ready for some night-time, for sure.”

“Southern Crescent” is also the first album on the new label LoHi Records, a collaboration involving marketing veteran Jim Brooks, musician and record producer Todd Snider of the band Hard Working Americans and fiddle fiend Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth.

“It’s an honor to have somebody start up a label and then instill some trust and responsibility in a band and say ‘Here you go, we’re going to help you out,'” Langlais said. “We wanted to be involved in a label that wasn’t pigeonholing itself in one genre or the other.”

The buzz surrounding “Southern Crescent” hit a fever pitch this week when Town Mountain made their debut on Billboard’s chart for top bluegrass albums at number four.

As a thank you to fans for their devout loyalty and support, the group made “Wildbird,” a track from the record, available as a free download.

Town Mountain has more twangy Kentucky shows coming up this June, including another stop in Lexington as the main headliner for the Festival of the Bluegrass.

Now in its 43rd year, the Festival will take place from June 9 to June 12 at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Later in June the group will perform two sets in Grayson at Rudy Fest June 23, followed by two more sets at ROMP Fest in Owensboro June 25.