Uncle Mountain coming home for performance at Turnage

Published 12:01 am Thursday, August 4, 2011

This Saturday, my band, Uncle Mountain, will return home to eastern North Carolina to perform at the Turnage Theater.

The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets may be purchased online at turnagetheater.com or through the box office (150 W. Main St., 252-975-1191). All tickets are $12 each.

Uncle Mountain is a folk/rock trio based in Asheville, but the band’s members can trace their roots back east because we all grew up in Ayden and Grifton. That’s where we were raised and where we began playing together. We turned the second story of my parents’ home into a band recording/rehearsal/storage space. Our early years consisted mainly of playing at and around home for small groups of friends and family. During this time, we also started learning about home-recording and began writing and recording original songs. Though most of the band’s history in eastern North Carolina revolved around home-recording and limited performances, we did participate in a high-school Battle of the Bands competition, and we had the privilege of playing at The Attic in Greenville before it closed its doors.

After graduating from Ayden-Grifton High School, the three of us migrated west to the mountains to study at Appalachian State University. Boone has a small-but-thriving local music scene, which allowed us to meet like-minded musicians and perform for larger crowds. We began playing at local clubs and doing some traveling within the state. We were also able to record more frequently. Daniel Shearin (guitarist and vocalist in the group) and I each majored in recording and production at the university, which allowed us access to the Robert F. Gilley Recording Studio located in the Hayes School of Music. During the summer of ’06, our group was allowed to use the studio to record our first release, “Salt Sweet and Memory Feet.” Recording the album became our summer job, and we released “Salt Sweet and Memory Feet” the following spring.

During our early traveling experience in college, we became acquainted with Asheville, and, eventually, we decided to make it our home base. Asheville is a burgeoning arts hub in North Carolina. On any given night in Asheville, there are street performers, local art openings, breweries and bars overflowing with people and venues featuring local, regional and national acts. Now, in our third year in Asheville, we have found our stride both in touring and in recording, as we have recently completed our new album, “Miles of Skyline.”

“Miles of Skyline,” our sophomore release, will be for sale during the Saturday-evening show at the historic Turnage Theater. We have spent the first part of this year writing and recording the new album, and we are particularly excited about this coming show because it will be the first show in which Uncle Mountain’s new CD will be available for sale. We can’t wait to show eastern North Carolina what we have been up to; so make sure you come out to the Turnage this Saturday night.

Ryan Lassiter is a graduate of Appalachian State University and the drummer for the band Uncle Mountain.