Tuesday, August 14, 2012

[Preview] 5th Annual Music On The Mountaintop: Part 1 of 4

[Sounds like: Railroad Earth, Sam Bush, JJ Grey & Mofro, Dr. Dog]

In a summer that has seen its fair share of chaos - from Frank Ocean's controversial confession to Carly Rae Jepsen's some-how hit - it's nice to know there is some element of stability we can rely on. I'm talking about Music on the Mountaintop (MOTM), a festival located in Foscoe, NC (just outside of Boone) that is dedicated to a greener world and great music ranging from funk to bluegrass and everything in between. This year, come August 24th-26th, marks the fifth year MOTM has been in operation. Recently partnering with the newgrass powerhouse, Railroad Earth, MOTM is headed in a slightly more defined direction this year.

There seems to be a large focus on the musicians' relationship with the fans; countless workshops and band interactions appear to be the driving force. From "Zen and Art Improvisation" to "Mandolin 101" (notably taught by the likes of Sam Bush, Andy Goessling, and John Skehan), the 5th annual MOTM is not only set up to be the greatest yet, but also the most unique. 

In order to get you up to speed on this year's lineup, Beat Dropping has decided to preview a heaping portion of the artists and bands involved - 4 a day for the next 4 days. We're kicking things off tonight with the festival's headliner Railroad Earth, then on to the likes of Sam Bush, JJ Grey & Mofro, and Dr. Dog. Hit the jump below to start your virtual meet-and-greet with the 2012 Music on the Mountaintop lineup...


I feel a little silly about "promoting" Railroad Earth. They've been around for years and in that time span have managed to create a cult following devoted to their quick strumming drumless sound. Promotions are no longer needed. They've made their presence known and have helped revolutionize the newgrass movement. From The Mighty River to Hard Livin', it's no surprise that Railroad Earth is now hosting and headlining MOTM. 

The band will be strumming furiously all three nights of the festival and will no doubt attract the biggest crowds. Railroad Earth has, essentially, become a symbol for the festival. In order to reassure us and show us their excitement towards their late August gig, members of the band will be leading numerous workshops with fans. If you're in attendance, be on the lookout for "Intro to Weird Instruments" featuring Andy Goessling, "Mandolin 101" with Goessling again, and "Morning Meditation" with Tim Carbone. It doesn't get much better than this.

Mighty River // Railroad Earth (available for free download)


If I felt silly promoting Railroad Earth, then I just feel dumb talking about Sam Bush. He's a mandolin legend. As good as they come, Bush needs no introduction. He'll be jamming out on closing day, August 26th, alongside many of the festival's talented faces in what is being coined a "super-jam." I have to wait until the last day to see the Bush man strum it madly? In his full capacity, yeah. Sorry. But like we've mentioned before, he's leading a workshop titled "Mandolin 101" which will truly be a once in a lifetime opportunity for most. Learning how to play the coolest instrument in bluegrass alongside a few legends will tide me over...I guess.

Sailin' Shoes // Sam Bush


Well shit. I'm sold just after hearing three out of the festival's 16 plus act lineup. JJ Grey & Mofro have been featured on Beat Dropping before, and we're more than happy to be sharing their music once more. Bluesy and soulful, this band adds a little variety to the bluegrass and folk dominated festival. You can't help but sway a little when you hear Grey and Mofro perform, feeling like you're the "sweetest thing" they sing about. And I'm a guy. That's saying somethin'. These guys are set to welcome festival-comers on the first day - August 24th. 

The Sweetest Thing // JJ Grey & Mofro


Dr. Dog is new for us. We've always caught glimpses of their work, but never pried open their discography and really listened. Damn we were dumb to ignore them. Their hit single Lonesome has been on repeat ever since I learned they'd be playing at this year's MOTM. They've got a little bit of Mofro, a whole chunk of The Black Keys, and a garnishing of Fleet Foxes. It's a varied sound, and in my opinion, Dr. Dog will be the most interesting to watch when they hit the stage on August 24th. Bottom line: we're obsessed, stupid for overlooking them, and obsessed again with the white lab featured on their website. We're dog people, call us suckers. 

Lonesome // Dr. Dog


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1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Beat Dropping! Love the write up. Keep'em coming!

    ReplyDelete