Members: Alex Mery (lead vocals, guitar); Kara Hartzell (bass); Matt Anderson (drums)
A mere two years into their existence, Alex Mery and The Townsmen have already performed at Musikfest, become a fixture on the Lehigh Valley music circuit, released an EP and are halfway through writing their debut full-length album.
Their sound is deeply entrenched in folk music, but it is a lush, musical tree rooted in Bad Religion, blink-182 and Billy Bragg. Bob Dylan? Not so much.
"I get a lot of, 'You're in a folk band, and you don't like Dylan?'," Mery said during a an early August phone interview. "(Folk and punk) are the two genres I find myself listening to a the end of the day. I figured, why not mesh them together and try to do the best of both worlds."
Though he dabbled in guitar in high school, Mery said he never felt comfortable starting a band -- until experiencing his "a-ha" moment during a show at Philadelphia's First Unitarian Church concert hall. "That was when I realized I could feasibly do this," he said.
Touching on the band's recent Musikfest performance, Mery said it was a full-circle moment for the trio; a year earlier, the band made their debut at SteelStacks. "The last time I was (at Musikfest) I was a little kid and I didn't understand how big it was," he recalled.
Mery, the band's lyricist and principal songwriter, said their upcoming effort will be more punk rock-oriented, without shedding the folk nuances heard on their EP, Folklore. "I like longer releases just because there's more meat to them," Mery said.
Alex Mery and The Townsmen will perform locally Aug. 27 at Tolino Vineyards in Washington Township, Northampton County. Before venturing to the Slate Belt, the band will headline Arlene's Grocery in New York City on Aug. 26.