We start this week’s Listening Party with the Barrel House Mamas, an old-time-leaning folk band with a few decidedly modern twists. The three founding members of the group — Jane Kramer Edens, Molly Rose Reed and Eleanor Underhill — met in 2003 while attending Warren Wilson College. Five years later, and the band has added a trio of additional players — fiddler Anna Baumann-Smith, bassist Sean Lallouz and drummer David Mack — and created a sound that harkens back to older acoustic folk music, while being solidly rooted in the modern day. We suggest starting with the understated live performance of the song “Thunderstorms,” which you can listen to on their JukeboxAlive page. And, if that’s not enough, you can visit the band’s YouTube page to check out videos from their live shows.
Next up, we have the Josh Phillips Folk Festival, the side/semi-solo project of Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band songwriter and percussionist Josh Phillips. While Phillips’ music is a bit less party-oriented than his work with YMBFBB, there’s still a strong current of upbeat and largely positive views in his songs. Backed by the Folk Festival, a group largely composed of his friends from the Asheville music scene, Phillips has been crafting a diverse collection of songs for his eventual debut album. We suggest starting with the lighthearted “I’d be mad too,” available on his MySpace page.
Closing out this week’s party, we have Brevard-based “mountain, bluegrass and country music” performer Shannon Whitworth. One of the founding members of The Biscuit Burners, Whitworth left the band in 2007 (under seemingly friendly terms) and has since resurfaced as a solo performer. Her debut album, No Expectatons, was released last year to largely positive reviews. We suggest starting with the song “Here but never home,” available on her MySpace page.
And, just in case you’ve fallen deeply in love with all of these performers’ music, by a fortunate twist you can catch them all at the upcoming Asheville Music Jamboree (or AMJam, for short).
Now, it’s your turn. Tell us your thoughts on these performers by posting into the comment fields below. This is your chance to be the music reviewer, so praise and pan as you see fit.
Also, if you’d like to suggest a band for Listening Party, or have questions about the column, visit this thread on our Mountainx.com forums.