A large part of their success this year has to do with their longevity. Town Mountain has been together since 2006 and The Honeycutters have been performing together since 2007. Another important component is that they’re all phenomenal musicians. Still, a key piece of it has to do with their schedule.
“When we started Town Mountain 10 years ago,” banjoist Jesse Langlais tells me, “we all took a long look at ourselves and decided that if we wanted to have any kind of longevity in the scene we were gonna have to tour. There is too much competition to just stay in Asheville and play.”
Still, none of these musicians have forgotten their base. Even with their hectic schedule, Town Mountain has taken the time to plan this fundraiser for the Manna Food Bank, and done us all the favor of inviting their friends.
“I wish I could take credit for it, but Town Mountain has done it before,” Amanda Anne Platt of The Honeycutters explains. “Jesse had reached out to me to see if we would be interested and it just kind of grew up around that.”
No matter whose idea it was, it appears that this will be a match made in heaven. Platt’s expressive voice, The Honeycutters crisp country, and Town Mountain’s progressive old-grass should compliment each other beautifully.
Beyond those intangibles, however, the most obvious thread binding these two bands is their songwriting. In a day where songwriting (and poetry) have somehow become a sort of collective, group effort, both of these bands bring an old-fashioned, independent approach.
“I am a very solitary writer,” says Platt. “I have the songs I’m considering and I put them on a demo and give it to the guys. In terms of melody and composition, the song is done, but in the production I enjoy being open to whatever ideas are brought to the table.”
Similarly, the members of Town Mountain bring their own songs with them. Langlais says the songs “Never show up as a finished product but are already a very solid idea. The lyrics, melody, and chords don’t change. We all have people we write with outside of Town Mountain, but not with other members of the band.”
This method has a tendency to make the songs a little more personal and, in some cases, a lot more vulnerable. When Platt sings of thousand dollar love hangovers or treating happiness like a guest, you can feel the truth behind her words. When Town Mountain sings of the hardship travel poses to love, you can hear the wheels turning, taking you away from the one person you want to be with.
As if all of this wasn’t enough to set up for an unbelievable evening, Platt tells me that we have a very good chance of seeing both bands on stage together. “We don’t know exactly what it is but we have certainly talked about it,” she says.
Whatever IT is, you don’t want to be the one hearing about it over brunch Saturday morning. You want to be the one enjoying the looks of envy while telling the story. The show is at The Grey Eagle. Doors at 7 pm, music at 8 pm/ $12 in advance, $15 DOS.
Caleb Calhoun studied writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and music at a plethora of clubs and bars across the southeast. He is the author and publisher of Rosman City Blues and currently resides outside of Asheville with his dog and best friend, Dr. Gonzo.