With their 2013 debut EP Went to the Well, The Misty Mountain String Band sought to showcase the diversity of string band music. Each song focuses on a different facet of the genre, from the bluegrass notes of “Mink Shoals” to the more roots-y “Canaan.” What resulted was not just diversity among the songs, but a vibrant composition of backgrounds and first love. Went to the Well is the return on a violin virtuoso, a jazz guitarist, a choral director, and a former conservatory student coming together to play the music they listened to as children.
Paul Martin (mandolin/banjo), Derek Harris (bass), Brian Vickers (guitar), and Neal Green (fiddle), came together in August of 2012 to play by request at an old-fashioned camp revival that was in its 113th year. What they assumed was going to be just another pick-up gig turned into a springboard that launched a professional band that’s as at home playing with the Louisville Philharmonia Orchestra as they are appearing alongside Americana favorites like Nora Jane Struthers and Town Mountain.
The Misty Mountain String Band performing their original song "Boxcar Moon" from their new album, Brownsboro, live on Red Barn Radio for the Best of Bluegrass 2014.
Drawing influence from old-time music, country, Americana, bluegrass, and songs of labor and protest, The Misty Mountain String Band doesn’t stray far from their upbringings in Kentucky and West Virginia. When Derek sings John Prine’s “Paradise,” he likes to tell stories of actually visiting the World’s Largest Shovel near his home in Muhlenberg County on field trips as a child. The Misty Mountain String Band is not composing cheap parodies of the music of a by-gone era, however. As it was noted in a recent write up from LEO Weekly, “The marriage of Prohibition-era old-time music and 21st-century technological upgrades might have peaked.” Through KICKSTARTER, Instagram, Facebook,YouTube, and Twitter, the group has connected with fans of folk music around the world and is introducing them to unique string band music written for today, but informed by tradition.
“[L]isteners can tell that Misty Mountain String Band… are certainly players.” Ear to the Ground Music notes, “but then their vocals are pretty darn good too.” Over the past year, MMSB has nurtured the marriage of tradition and technology that has come to draw crowds of all ages. “[T]hey clearly have their own distinct bluegrass style.”
The Misty Mountain String Band performing the original song "River's End" from their new album, Brownsboro, live on Red Barn Radio for the Best of Bluegrass 2014.
The Misty Mountain String Band performing the original song "Canaan" from their debut album, Went to the Well, live at New Vintage Louisville, Ky., March 22, 2014.