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Blue Mountain comes to Pebble Hill

Alt-awesome band photo.

They landed the cover of the second issue of No Depression. Bassist Laurie Stirratt is the twin sister of Wilco bassist John Stirratt (who, you know, also played with Uncle Tupelo).

How alt-country is Blue Mountain? Right, right… pretty damn alt-country.

“Yeah, that alt-country term seemed to start up with that No Depression scene and in retrospect, that was a great scene and I’m proud to be affiliated with it,” says Blue Mountain frontman Cary Hudson, chillaxing at home in Sumrall, MS (15 miles from Hattiesburg). “But I kind of prefer the term ‘Americana’ these days. I think it makes more sense…  we never thought of ourselves as a country band.”

The Oxford, Miss.-born trio started making regional waves in the late 80s which finally came to national shores in the mid-90s with their critically acclaimed sophomore album Dog Days, released (and recently re-released) by Roadrunner Records.

Blue Mountain at Vino’s in Little Rock, circa 1992 or ’93.

“Back then, one thing that was pretty much the goal of every band was to find a record deal… that was pretty big for us,” Hudson says. “I think that’s one of the main things different between today and back then. Back then it was possible to get on the phone, book your own shows, but it wasn’t really possible to build a big fan base like that unless you put in ten years or so. But these days it’s really easier for bands to guide their own career because of the tools you’ve got… e-mail, the Internet.”

Modern tools is how Hudson connected with Standard Deluxe proprietor, Waverly-poka impresario, and now friend Scott Peek, who booked the band for area shows in 2008 and 2009.

“When they were first coming on the scene back in the early 90s I saw them in Birmingham a couple of times and just really dug them,” Peek says. “We swapped some e-mails and CDs and shirts and then two or three years ago, they got back together. I always felt like they got a raw deal. They just didn’t get the break that Uncle Tupelo and Wilco and Son Volt and all those bands got… of course the divorce probably had something to do with that.”

Hudson and Stirratt split up the band – and their marriage – in 2001, reuniting (in rock ‘n’ roll only) in 2007.

“Scott’s a great guy and that’s what I think of when I think of Auburn,” Hudson says. “Most of my shows there have been in these small towns like Loachapoka or Waverly. I guess everybody else thinks about football, but I think about those really great, little small towns.”

Tonight will be the band’s first performance in Auburn proper – they’re headlining Auburn Art Association’s Jazz and Blues Festival at Pebble Hill – in nearly a decade.

“It’s nice to know that we wrote these songs and we play them and make a nice little living,” Hudson says. “We never got to touring in a jet… but for whatever it’s worth Blue Mountain got voted ‘Most Legendary Oxford Band’ by the weekly zine there. That made me feel good… legendary in our own minds, maybe.”

Who: Blue Mountain, Scott Boyer & Friends, Satin Soul, and Alternate Take.

Where: At Greystone Mansion and Pebble Hill, corner of E Magnolia Ave. and Debardeleben St.

When: Friday, May 7,  6-11 p.m.

Info: Tickets are $10. Proceeds benefit the Auburn Arts Association.

[Also tonight: Auburn metal legends Hematavore and Montgomery’s Weak Music for Thomas play The Independent.]

About Jeremy Henderson

Jeremy Henderson is the editor of The War Eagle Reader and co-host of Rich and Jeremy in the Mornings on Wings 94.3 FM in Auburn. Follow him on Twitter: @wareaglereader / @jerthoughts / @RichandJeremy

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