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Yes, Town Mountain is "really good"

Club Passim, Cambridge, Mass., August 17, 2014

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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Town Mountain exited the stage after concluding its regular set, and when the applause demanded the deserved encore, a fan yelled out "You guys are really good." That the mainly Asheville, N.C.-based bluegrass quintet demonstrated time and again.

Town Mountain merged bluegrass and country sounds with enough alterations during the 81-minute show before a near capacity crowd to indicate that this was a band that gave pause to what constituted a solid show.

It all started with lead singer Robert Greer, who sounds a lot like Travis Tritt with a very soulful delivery. In fact, a slight alteration of the sonics would render Town Mountain squarely in the country category instead of being more of a hybrid type of act.

Greer sang well in a set that grew stronger - and quickly - as the night wore on. He's certainly a strong vocal presence and was not a Johnny one note either in his delivery.

While he handled most of the vocals, mandolin pace Phil Barker took over the lead vocals for the well played "Law Dog."

To change up the pace, the band sometimes engaged in three-part harmonies, giving a different feel.

Town Mountain, which is releasing a live disc in between studio efforts, played a chunk of new songs that fit in well with already released material. "Comin Back to You," written by Greer, and "Long Time Comin'," featuring stellar fiddle playing from Bobby Brill, soon to enter his junior year at Berklee College of Music in Boston, were among the new songs that contributed to a good night of music.

A bluegrass version of Bruce Springsteen's oft-covered "I'm on Fire," was well done. So was the closing song of the night, Bill Monroe's "Orange Blossom Special," featuring lots of tasty licks from Brill.

He wasn't the only one holding down the musical fort. Barker and banjo player Jesse Langlais, who writes most of the band's songs, stretched out the band's sound. Sometimes it seemed as if this group were steeped in honky tonk music before going back to its bluegrass base. Bassist Nick DiSebastian often anchored the songs.

Through song, vocals and playing, Town Mountain did prove that, yes indeed, they were "really good."