TOWN MOUNTAIN, “Steady Operator,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks.

Pinecastle Records, one of heavy hitters among the small bluegrass labels from 1989 to 2010, is back.

The label shut down in February 2010 because of the declining health of its owner, Tom Riggs. But Lonnie Lassiter acquired the label last August and issued his first album — Town Mountain’s “Steady Operator” — this month.

Producer Mike Bub describes the album as “a colorful pallet of bluegrass, blues, ballads, breakdowns and Bible” and says it features “passionate, original bluegrass played by tradition-minded, in-tune hipsters from the mountains of western North Carolina.”

The Asheville, N.C., quintet has been described as “a bridge between traditional bluegrass, outlaw country and old-time, with sounds reminiscent of Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, J.D. Crowe and Tony Rice.” You could also say Town Mountain is sort of Hank Williams meets Bill Monroe with more than a touch of rockabilly attitude.

 “Steady Operator” is filled with original songs. Mandolin player Phil Barker wrote or co-wrote six songs and banjo player Jesse Langlais wrote three. The other three are the traditional instrumental “Flannery’s Reel,” Aaron Wood’s “All You Despise” and Hank Williams III’s “Five Shots of Whiskey.”

Williams has a way with lyrics like his grandfather — “They weren’t good times, but they were the best of my life.”

That sense of despair is echoed in Barker’s “Sparkle City” — “It’s a long road to destruction, but, son, I’m makin’ time.”

His “Humble Shepherd” is an uptempo gospel number. And his “Tarheel Boys” is a blazing hot Civil War song about North Carolinians who were the last to leave the battlefield at Gettysburg.

Good album by a band that’s rapidly making a name for itself.

Can’t find it in stores? Try http://www.PinecastleMusic.com.

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