Two decades ago, Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band emerged as a seminal force, igniting the careers of talents associated with renowned acts such as Greensky Bluegrass (Anders Beck), The Infamous Stringdusters (Travis Book), Leftover Salmon (Andy Thorn), and the Jon Stickley Trio (Jon Stickley). Now, they revisit the essence of their formative years with the 20th-anniversary release of 'Cabin in the Hills,' their singular album, recorded by former Ralph Stanley fiddler Dewey Brown. Dubbed as a “Reverse Super Group”, this release captures the invincibility of youth and the essence of a band destined for greatness, acknowledging the birth of a musical entity that indelibly shaped the trajectory of contemporary bluegrass music. Today, the group has released their first ever digital single “I See Through Your Smile,” available now via Americana Vibes on all digital platforms.
As banjoist Andy Thorn recalls, the group was spurred out of a ski trip after being promised free passes at Purgatory spending 32 hours in the car driving straight from Chapel Hill, North Carolina to Durango, Colorado. The first thing on the agenda was heading to Canyon Music Woodworks, which had become a well-known epicenter to check out instruments and gather to promote shows and collaborate. By chance, the shop’s employee (Anders Beck) suggested they jam with him and his bass player friend (Travis Book) while in town. They ended up at Robin Davis’ house later that night to jam and the rest of the serendipitous meeting was history evolving into the creation of Broke Mountain during that fateful summer of 2003.
The band’s trajectory thereafter happened quickly. Anders had convinced Andy to move out to Colorado that next summer to enter the RockyGrass Band Contest and would later bring his guitarist cohort Jon Stickley into the fold inviting him to join him on his journey out west and round out the project. The band went on to have a fruitful year of winning the RockyGrass Band contest; playing a string of festivals; and of course recording Cabin in the Hills. Members of the group would eventually get hand-picked and summoned to join bluegrass luminaries such as Thorn joining Larry Keel & Natural Bridge (and later Leftover Salmon) and Anders, Travis, and Robin joining Benny “Burle” Galloway and keyboardist, Greg Andrulis, for the formation of Wayward Sons, all endeavors that spurred the blossoming careers that have catapulted them into being some of the most notable and respected musicians in today’s modern bluegrass scene.
Despite their trajectory, all members of Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band have always looked back fondly on their formative years and simpatico meeting of the minds that was united by happenstance. “It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since the five of us got together to create this album; and more importantly, the band itself,” Anders Beck reflects, “Listening back to 'Cabin in the Hills,' I hear the invincibility of youth. I hear a band that was planning to take over the world of bluegrass; a band that was going to be a big deal. I hear five friends that thought they were badasses. So now, as we view it through the rearview mirror, it makes me smile to think that maybe we were kind of right.”
Travis Book weighs in, “20 years ago when we recorded this record we had no idea what we were doing but we were learning fast and riding the high of being in a band that clicked, that had a vibe, and that we all intuitively knew was going places. That 20 years on we’re all still making music is remarkable, but harder to believe is that this group of “kids” would go on to forge careers in “bluegrass” and anchor some of the most progressive and successful “bluegrass-ish” bands of our generation. When we put together our 20th Anniversary shows it was clear that our record, which only saw one printing of 1000 CDs, needed to see the light of day and join the catalog of Americana Vibes and the collective works of these musicians. This record and this band was the beginning for the five of us and this re-release of Cabin in the Hills signals the beginning of a new era for Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band.”
To celebrate their first-ever digital and vinyl releases, the band will reunite for two shows at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver, Colorado on December 1st and 2nd. Tickets can be purchased HERE.