Town Mountain Interview: Robert Greer Talks Merlefest, Tacos & Their Upcoming Album

Town Mountain Interview: Robert Greer Talks Merlefest, Tacos & Their Upcoming Album

As you know, Merlefest is currently going strong with an epic lineup. A couple weeks ago, I got to chat with Town Mountain’s Robert Greer about the huge role they are playing at the Merlefest music festival this year. Read on to find out more about how they got their cool nickname, “Taco Stand Troubadours,” what’s so different about their new album and the 2 things that the band members can always agree on.

Town Mountain Interview: Robert Greer Talks Merlefest, Tacos & Their Upcoming Album

EPR: What’s going on with you lately?

Robert Greer: I just finished up with a rehearsal with the guys. And I’ve been writing a bunch of tunes and enjoying a little time off so I could go turkey hunting in Texas.

EPR: Turkey hunting in Texas sounds fun. Have you ever done that before?

Robert Greer: Not in Texas, no. We’ll see how that goes. I hope we have good luck. I’m going with two good friends, so it will be a lot of fun either way.

EPR: That’s good. Are turkeys the only thing you hunt?

Robert Greer: I’m primarily a bird hunter, but I’ve never really been into deer hunting or anything like that. But I’m into duck hunting, quail hunting, turkey hunting, stuff like that.

EPR: So, you guys are at Merlefest this year and hosting one of the stages. Is that correct?

Robert Greer: We’re hosting the Midnight Jam on Saturday night! Town Mountain and Jim Lauderdale are hosting the Midnight Jam.

EPR: So tell me more about that.

Robert Greer: Well, it’s presented by the Bluegrass Situation and it will be in the auditorium there at the college. The Jam actually starts at 10:30. It used to start at midnight and run until 2 or 3 in the morning. They’re changing it this year to start at 10:30 and it will be over by 12:30. It will be a little more accessible, a little less late night, after a long day of being at the festival. I like the idea of moving it up a little bit. It’s open. There will be a lot of different bands and artists there who will be in a jam situation instead of playing with a full band that they always play with. It will be people intermingling between bands and coming together and playing a tune or two onstage. It’s a blast. It’s an institution at Merlefest and it’s been going on a long time and we are thrilled to be hosting it.

EPR: How many times have you been to Merlefest? What is your experience so far?

Robert Greer: This is our 4th or 5th time playing Merlefest. It’s always fun. It’s a huge festival, 80,000 people. It’s like a city of music going on in Wilkesboro, at the college there.

EPR: Do you camp out and stay there or do you just come in for a day or two?

Robert Greer: We get hotel rooms close by and I think we are going to be there Friday and Saturday night.

EPR: You also played the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman a couple of years ago. Was that your first time?

Robert Greer: Yeah! We’ve played the Opry twice, most recently I think was July of last year. We’ve played the Ryman one time and that was 2 summers ago. Both of them are really fun. That Ryman stage is something special and the Opry, it’s an honor to be asked to play, you know? That’s been around a long time and it holds a lot of clout. There is so much history there. The first time is nerve wracking. The 2nd time was not as much but still, it’s the Grand Ole Opry. It’s a big deal to us.

EPR: That’s a huge honor. Tell me about your band members and how long you guys have been together.

Robert Greer: We’ve been together about 10 years. Our band members are Jesse Langlais and he plays banjo. Phil Barker plays mandolin. Zach Smith plays upright bass. Bobby Britt plays fiddle. And I play guitar.

EPR: Are you all from Asheville?

Robert Greer: Yeah, everybody lives in Asheville except for Bobby. He lives in Boston. He’s from North Carolina but he went to Boston when he got married and stayed up there. We fly Bobby around. We’ll play in Nashville, TN and he’ll fly into Nashville and then get in the van after the gig and go on tour with us. We’ll fly him out of the last city we play in.

EPR: Where all are you touring around this summer? And how many dates?

Robert Greer: All over the place. We are touring nationally. We will probably play 120, 130 dates this year.

Town Mountain Interview: Robert Greer Talks Merlefest, Tacos & Their Upcoming Album

EPR: So, what’s with the nickname, “Taco Stand Troubadours?”

Robert Greer: I have no idea who made that up. We eat a lot of tacos and we joke that the 2 things that we can agree on are tacos and the Grateful Dead. So, somebody saw that in a quote and made it up.

EPR: That’s a cool nickname though. I mean, you could be called much worse. So, tell me about your new album and the interesting recording process.

Robert Greer: Yeah, we just recorded that record about a month and a half ago. We recorded it right here in Asheville, NC at a really cool studio called Echo Mountain Recording Studios and it’s an old church. They kept the integrity of the church, the stained glass, the big, vaulted ceiling, the sanctuary. There’s natural reverb with the big, high ceiling. It’s an old church that sounds good and a really fun room to sing in and play in.

The guy we used as a producer is a buddy of ours and an excellent musician from Portland, OR, named Caleb Klauder. He plays for the band called Foghorn Stringband. He is an excellent musician and I think it was his first role as producer for a project that he wasn’t actually a part of, like in the band. We made a good record.

This is our 6th studio recording and you can tell a lot about the way a record is going to be by the way the recording process goes. And we had a heck of a lot of fun making this record. It’s all original music and we had some guests join us to play some instruments and help us out on some tunes. It’s got some bluegrass stuff and there’s a lot of boogie woogie type, kinda Jerry Lee Lewis feel, and then some stuff that has a pretty deep like rock and roll feel to it.

We used a buddy of ours named Miles Miller who plays drums with Sturgill Simpson, he played drums on the record. It was a lot of fun playing with him, we have done a lot of dates with him on the road. He’s great fun to play music with and a heck of a drummer. But we don’t know the name of the record yet, well, I don’t know if I should disclose the name yet. The release date is September 6th. It was the most fun that I have ever had recording an album.

Catch Town Mountain tonight at Merlefest and see where else you can see them on tour here.

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About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn has been a music lover her entire life. She went to college in Boone, NC, an area that is rich in music and culture. She also worked as a radio deejay for 8 years and grew up in Southeastern, Va, a melting pot of different musical styles and traditions. She has been to more concerts than she can count in every genre you can imagine. She resides in North Carolina with her furbabies and her massive collection of Disney memorabilia.

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