Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
Blue Mountain Saints: Genre-hopping foursome plays Delta Blues BBQ on Saturday, May 1
alert
Blue Mountain Saints

Blue Mountain Saints: Genre-hopping foursome plays Delta Blues BBQ on Saturday, May 1

  • 0
{{featured_button_text}}
Blue Mountain Saints-1.jpg

Bristol’s Blue Mountain Saints will perform on Saturday at Delta Blues BBQ in Bristol, Tennessee.

Some people play music for money. Some seek fame.

Bristol’s Blue Mountain Saints perform music for the simple love of doing so.

Camaraderie on the bandstand, witness the Blue Mountain Saints onstage at Delta Blues BBQ in Bristol, Tennessee on Saturday, May 1. A four-man band of buddies, the genre-hopping group formed two years ago.

“We had a nice takeoff until COVID hit. Then we went dormant,” said Mark Mervis, who plays bass guitar in Blue Mountain Saints. “This is our first show since COVID.”

In addition to Mervis, Blue Mountain Saints consist of guitarist D.M. Doyle, lead guitarist and singer Joe Hoskins and drummer Jim Madigan. In years past, Mervis, a longtime figure in the Bristol music scene, was a member of such groups as Box Set and progressive bluegrass outfit Wires and Wood.

“Joe was in Box Set with me,” Mervis said. “We’ve been in duos, trios and Box Set together. Jim moved here from New York after he went to Rhythm & Roots. Doyle was a Connecticut guy who ended up in California, then Boone, North Carolina, then here. Jim played in big bands and jazz in New York. We have a deep mix of songs and styles we love.”

Among their substantial mix, Blue Mountain Saints feature a range of alluring original tunes. From a blue-eyed soul base, numbers including “Other Side of Lonely” and “Ray” illustrate the band’s penchant for dramatic themes.

“Our ultimate goal is to play all originals,” Mervis said. “We hook the crowd with our take on other tunes, but originals are important to us.”

A stack of their own songs comes from the prolific pen of the late Jeff Blackburn.

“‘Ray’ is a Jeff Blackburn song,” Mervis said. “We played it in Box Set. Jeff, who was a member of Box Set, died about a year and a half ago. He left us a lot of songs that he wrote.”

About “Ray,” it’s neither a tribute to Ray Charles nor a serious tune. Ponderous, yes. Interesting, quite. Memorable? Listeners will not soon forget its story.

“It’s about alien abductions,” Mervis said.

Sort of a “Plan 9 from Outer Space” set to music?

“Well, he’s paranoid,” Mervis said. “There’s little green men, and Ray’s lost all his marbles.”

Hey, prop it up alongside Joe Carson’s “Hillbilly Band from Mars” and let it spin.

Stylistically, there’s nothing alien about Blue Mountain Saints. They blend bits of the infectious pop music that fueled Box Set with tastes of the blues, country, folk, rock and tidbits of bluegrass. They’re a melting pot, from which boils adventurous takes on the music they love.

“We play music for grown-ups,” Mervis said. “We’ve got a repertoire of about 150 songs. Our music tastes vary, but our originals and our takes on songs from other eras focus on a 1970s sound.”

Onstage, they’ll spew neither blood nor cringe-inducing invectives. Instead, the members of Blue Mountain Saints seek to entertain themselves and their audiences using music that bonds with the life-affirming joints of crisp musicianship and meaningful lyrics.

Blue Mountain Saints, they’re not a band on the run; they’re a band set to stay.

“It’s a brotherhood,” Mervis said. “Hey, I get to play music with my buddies.”

Tom Netherland is a freelance writer. He may be reached at features@bristolnews.com.

Stay up-to-date on what's happening

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

The first fact we learn about Craig Melvin in the NBC News anchor’s new memoir “Pops” is that his father was born in a federal prison in West Virginia. The revelation grabs the reader by the collar and will likely surprise viewers who watch Melvin, 42, a smooth broadcaster who never displays a hint of angst over the many hours each week he’s seen across NBC News properties. Since joining the ...

  • Updated

All over Hampton Roads, Surf Rider is renowned for its crab cakes, made with so little binder they can’t be fried. The local chain’s lump-filled cakes bested the competition in two consecutive Virginian-Pilot taste tests, not to mention a recent blind-judged crab cake throwdown. But this year, said its third-generation co-owner, Chris Bennett, he almost had to take them off the menu. The ...

  • Updated

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The creators of the Jurassic World VelociCoaster roller coaster at Universal Orlando Resort had more to contend with than just encounters with rabid raptors. They faced a global pandemic that shut down the theme park resort for weeks last year and kept visitors at bay when it reopened last summer.

Here are the bestsellers for the week that ended Saturday, June 12, compiled from data from independent and chain bookstores, book wholesalers and independent distributors nationwide, powered by NPD BookScan © 2021 NPD Group. (Reprinted from Publishers Weekly, published by PWxyz LLC. © 2021, PWxyz LLC.) HARDCOVER FICTION 1. "The President's Daughter: A Thriller" by Bill Clinton and James ...

“Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy" by Anne Sebba; St. Martin's Press (320 pages, $28.99) ——— The right called her a traitor. The left called her a martyr. Neither word quite captured the complicated truth of Ethel Rosenberg. More than 50 years after her execution, she remains impossible to reduce to a label. Anne Sebba’s book, “Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy,” is aptly titled. ...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

News Alerts