Random acts

Of note

Local band ChunkStyle is looking for a new drummer. The group’s previous drummer, Adam Clark, left the band last month for personal reasons. Interested percussionists can find out more at www.chunkstyle.cjb.net.

Asheville-based rock acts Drug Money and The Makeout Room are due to be featured on the soundtrack to the indie film Shakers. There’s no word yet as to the film’s debut date, but sources at Onion Music say the filmmakers are planning to release it on the independent-film-festival circuit. Visit www.onionmusic.com.

Fans of the area rock group Level One, take note: The band is changing its name. The five-piece group will now be known as 99 Years (reflecting the actual collective years of experience members bring to the group). For more information, visit www.99years.net.

Front-row reviews

What: Ghost Mountain

Where: Barley’s Taproom

When: Thursday, March 7

Ghost Mountain’s songs are mostly hard-edged blues covers, with the occasional bit of stylized cool jazz thrown in for variety. When the three themes worked in harmony, with everyone coming together, GM managed to create a tangible blues/lounge atmosphere out of a busy pizza bar. For the most part, however, it was just fairly good music to eat a slice to.

This five-piece, fronted by longtime Asheville blues fixture J.P. Delanoye, mixes the standard blues-rock component of bassist, guitarist and drummer with a highly energetic keyboardist and a powerful, if seldom used, saxophonist. The arrangement allowed the band to explore a little of the improvisatonal side of blues and jazz territory, but they only did so in very short bursts.

At times, the gritty-blues vocals sounded forced, which led to some of the harder-edged songs coming off as accidental parodies of the original. It wasn’t altogether unpleasant, but that’s beside the point.

Local vocals

Formed in 2001 from a group of bluegrass-jam regulars, County Farm has worked to make a name for itself through steady gigging and a noticeable Web presence. The band is working on a live recording, to be released later this year. For more information, visit www.weaversites.com/cf/.

Mountain Xpress: You all come from a diverse set of musical backgrounds. Have you found some kind of fulfillment in playing bluegrass?

Jeff Schnuck: I find that it’s really challenging me a lot. It requires a lot of different musical qualities. Considering it’s a folk music, it takes quite a bit to get up there and do your thing, and not have it look like you’re falling on your face.

Neal Crowley: There’s a lot of music back home [in Lexington, Ky.], but you have to peel back the layers to get to it. Here, everything is just out in the open. There’s a lot of young people doing it. I was mostly playing with older people, you know, back home.

Tom Dudley: About two or three years ago, I started doing the jams, and met all these folks. It’s a real supportive community.

MX: You have a bit more of an on-line presence than most bluegrass bands. Why is that, and what kind of response have you gotten?

TD: Jay’s a bit of a computer geek.

Jay Mullenax: Within two or three days of putting the MP3 site up, I got a really nice e-mail from a guy from California, a dobro player. He gave us a beautiful press quote. About a month later, he showed up here at one of the jams. He ended up playing with us at The Town Pump the next night. I’ve gotten lots of e-mails. We’ve gotten a couple of gigs off the net. Our MP3 site has been up two or three months, and it’s gotten a thousand hits, which isn’t too bad. It’s a thousand people that have heard us outside of Asheville.

NC: We’re glad for our computer geeks. We need ’em.

MX: How does it feel to be the new guys on the scene?

JM: It’s kind of hard to start over. My last band was together for six years. Plus, in West Virginia, there was no competition. Here, we’re little fish in a big pond. … It makes you work harder.

JS: Any given night where we’re gigging, there’s going to be some other acoustic music in the area. You can’t just expect stuff to fall into your lap, because even if it does, someone can just snatch it back out. That makes you work for what you can get. It keeps us on our toes.

Top threes

The top-three local songs according to MP3.Com, as of March 11, 2002:

• “September 12″ — David Wilcox

• “Hymn for the Highway” — David Wilcox

• “Seven Promises” — Dave Foraker

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