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Town Mountain

Leave the Bottle – 2012 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by Town Mountain

Bluegrass ranges from the smooth baritone of David Parmley and Charlie Waller to the high tenor of Larry Stephenson to the mountain music of Dr. Ralph Stanley. If you're familiar with Junior Sisk, who is closer to Stanley than Parmley, then you know what to expect from Town Mountain. This is the bluegrass music you'll hear around the campfire at many festivals: excellent instrumental work, untrained yet good, on-key singing.

All but one of the songs was written or co-written by band members. The title track talks abut the misery of being away from your loved ones and falling into a bottle to salve the loneliness. There's an interesting change of tempo on the chorus that puts a spin on the song. The mix could have been better since the vocals are overwhelmed by the instruments, and lead singer Robert Greer's lyrics are hard to understand, but you get the gist of the song.

You Weighed Heavy On My Heart is a story about a woman's cheating, and it is fast with a lot of drive. Phil Barker (mandolin) plays a great break. All the musicians are accomplished including Jesse Langlais (banjo) and Bobby Britt (fiddle). Jon Stickley plays bass although Mike Bub guests on one track.

Greenbud On The Flower is a ballad about the first signs of spring and Away From Home is the story of a young girl at the end of the line after she runs away from home. Heavy Stone is an introspective look at the life of a rambling man. But you don't spend much time in ballad mode. Imagine Jerry Lee Lewis doing honky-tonk bluegrass style, and you've nailed Up the Ladder, and then there's the story of moonshine to NASCAR in Run Junior Run.