Conscious party: Town Mountain picks away at hunger in WNC

WORKING IN HARMONY: After Town Mountain's banjoist Jesse Langlais decided to make his bluegrass band's holiday benefit concert an annual event, several other organizations piped up and pitched in. Isis Restaurant and Music Hall, for example, donates performance space, and New Belgium Brewing Co., is contributing $500 toward the cause. Photo by Sandlin Gaither

WHAT: Town Mountain’s fourth annual Bluegrass Holiday Benefit Show with The Larry Keel Experience

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 19, at 9 p.m.

WHERE: Isis Restaurant and Music Hall

WHY: In 2012, Asheville-based bluegrass notables Town Mountain launched the group’s inaugural holiday benefit concert to combat local hunger. To date, the annual event has translated into about 20,000 meals through a partnership with with MANNA FoodBank, which, among other activities, works with hundreds of agencies in 16 Western North Carolina counties to distribute food to those in need.

“Local hunger is an issue at so many levels,” says the band’s banjoist and vocalist Jesse Langlais. “Obviously, WNC and Asheville have high populations of homeless people, and these people are still part of the community. A healthy community starts with a healthy lifestyle, and that starts with a healthy meal.”

“During the winter this can be especially frustrating for families trying to decide between heat or providing a proper celebration for the holidays,” he continues. “This is when we need to pull together a bit more for each other and the community.”

This year, The Larry Keel Experience was recruited to aid in that mission by opening the concert. “There will certainly be some end-of-the-evening onstage musical collaborations with both Town Mountain and Larry’s band,” the banjoist says.

Additional guest musicians will round out the lineup, including contributors to Town Mountain’s recently released EP The Dead Session — an impromptu recording of the band covering the Grateful Dead’s “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” and “Big River” at Echo Mountain Recording.

“We’ll capture that session in a live setting for the first time,” Langlais says.

Tickets are $20 per person, with half of proceeds from the event benefiting MANNA FoodBank. Isis Visit isisasheville.com for more information or tickets.

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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