Town Mountain “Lines in the Levee”

New West Records, 2022

The soothing sound of heartland rock.

artwork for Town Mountain album "Lines in the Levee"Some Town Mountain has grown considerably since its inception fifteen years ago, not only in its membership but also in its energy, emotion and live shows. Original members Robert Greer (acoustic guitar, lead vocals, backing vocals) and Jesse Langlais (banjo, lead vocals) were soon joined by Phil Barker (mandolin, lead vocals, backing vocals, acoustic guitar), then subsequently Bobby Britt (fiddle) and Zach Smith (bass, acoustic bass). This accomplished collective is also joined by a host of other musicians bringing a range of instrumentation, including; drums, accordion, mellotron, dobro, organ, Wurlitzer, sitar, conga and pedal steel. ‘Lines in the Levee‘ is the latest album in a significant back catalogue of material.

That the team is so versatile, cultivated and comfortable together makes for a captivating listening experience. The ability to switch up lead vocalists and choose songs from different writers (Barker, Langlais and Greer) means they have, by their own observation, evolved “a collage of sound and scope running the gamut of the musical spectrum in the same template of freedom and focus found in the round-robin fashion of the musical institution that is The Band”.

It is easy to connect with the songs on this album with its distinct flavours of heartland rock – particularly in ‘Comeback Kid‘ – great vibes, sensational vocals, and superb musicianship. The subjects range from the deep & emotive ‘Rene‘, which is musically relatively sparse to make way for the depth of emotion that makes this song so beautiful, to the everyday challenges of songwriting in the contemplative ‘Daydream Quarantina‘. The title track has a powerful beat, great harmony vocals, and subtle yet strident fiddle & banjo.

Many influences could be identified, but the overriding feel throughout this album is a well-established, strong and polished sensitivity. The impeccable sounds are full and extensive. The drum parts are fabulously subtle, solo pieces are charmingly structured, and there are some beautiful outros, such as in the tactfully written ‘Seasons Don’t Change‘ and the epic, heart-wrenching ‘Lean Into the Blue‘.

8/10
8/10

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