Possum Jenkins makes MOTM debut
These possums don't play dead. They play live.
Audiences can see for themselves when regional alt-country outfit Possum Jenkins makes its Music on the Mountaintop debut this month.
Set for Aug. 26-27, Music on the Mountaintop showcases not only national talent, like Sam Bush, Railroad Earth and 7 Walkers, but regional and local favorites, like The Lazybirds and Native Sway.
Possum Jenkins, though, is in a category of its own.
"Seven and a half years later, here we still are, still making non-hit records and driving around acting like a bunch of lunatics," said Dave Brewer, the band's lead and rhythm guitarist and drummer.
Not that it's a bad thing. Brewer sees this as a testament to the band's tenacity.
"Most bands, I think, really kind of hang it up after that long a time, get on with their lives, get married, work their jobs, do their thing," he said. "For some reason, we've never been able to commit to doing it full-time, but we've never given it up."
And the group's records aren't necessarily "non-hits." Possum's most recent album, "Collection of Bad Habits," an independent release, made its way into the national limelight. "Even without a label or PR person, and without any exceptional know-how on the part of anyone in the band, it seemed to find its way onto a couple of national charts," Brewer said.
The band has plenty of know-how when it comes to performing, however. Often compared to alt-country rockers The Drive-By Truckers, Possum Jenkins specializes in edge, deftly blending Southern rock, Americana, alt-country and an undeniable groove.
The members are multi-instrumentalists and often compare their performances to a "Chinese fire drill," though the standard lineup features Dave Willis on lead, rhythm and slide guitar and drums, Jared Church on bass, Nathan Turner on rhythm guitar and drums, Brent Buckner on harmonica and Brewer on drums, lead and rhythm guitar.
Popular in downtown Boone's music scene, Possum also hits the road throughout the Southeast, including stops in North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia.
They're also working on a new album, still untitled, but made possible through a more than successful Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter is an online avenue that allows visitors to support creative endeavors through donations.
"We did the campaign, asked our folks for $5,500," Brewer said. "But when it was all said and done 45 days later, we had eight grand."
Brewer said the new record is more acoustic than Possum Jenkins' previous efforts.
"Our ambitions have never been terribly high, but we've always aimed to make the best music we possible could and to get some recognition for that," he said. "We hope that our fans, friends and family enjoy them as much as we do."
As for Music on the Mountaintop, "I'm happy to finally be playing it," Brewer said, adding that Possum Jenkins always looks forward to a festival crowd.
"Festival crowds, in general, are just enthusiastic," he said. "They just want to have a good time. That's always one of the nice things about playing festivals - music is why they are there."
Possum Jenkins performs Saturday, Aug. 27, at Music on the Mountaintop, located at the Grandfather Campgrounds in Foscoe. For tickets and more information, visit http://www.musiconthemountaintop.com.
Following Music on the Mountaintop, Possum Jenkins will perform Sept. 30 at the Boone Saloon, located at 489 West King St. in downtown Boone. For more information, visit possumjenkinsband.com.
More on the Mountaintop
With the festival only two weeks away, organizers are making the wait worth fans' while.
On Friday, Aug. 19, from 6 to 10 p.m., Our Daily Bread (627 W. King St.) will host a MOTM Wine-Tasting and auction, For $20, patrons can enjoy a bottomless assortment of wine and beer, while also vying for a variety of prizes in a raffle and auction.
Auction items include a mountain bike, VIP MOTM tickets, Chaco shoes, Osprey packs, a kayak, Ski Beech lift tickets and ski rentals, rafting trips, local clothes and jewelry, and more.
One of the raffle items is a guitar signed by MOTM headliners Railroad Earth, Sam Bush, the Infamous Stringdusters and more.
Camping on the Mountaintop
Car-camping tickets have sold out, but organizers said there's plenty of primitive camping tickets available, costing $12 per camper.
Festival-goers can park at a satellite lot (located within minutes of the venue) and take the free shuttle service to the festival grounds. Golf carts are also available to help campers haul gear to their respective sights. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
A shuttle service will also run from the Legends and Kidd Brewer Stadium on the Appalachian State University campus.
A two-day pass to MOTM costs $70, while one-day passes (for Friday or Saturday) cost $40 apiece.
Tickets and more information are available online at http://www.musiconthemountaintop.com.