Tonight: Silent Old Mountains make first tour stop at Garfield Artworks

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Silent Old Mountains is a six-member band from Frederick, Md., that will be playing at Garfield Artworks tonight.

Snowy old mountains is what they had to drive through to get here.

Just about noon today, the guys were loading up the small yellow school bus they bought on Craigslist and getting ready for the trip through the Appalachians.

Don't be surprised if the snow-lined roads lead them to write a few more songs.

"The name of the band comes from a quote in a book I read," said Andrew Bromhal, founder of the band. "To paraphrase it, the thought behind it is that we're surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains. And if they could speak, they could say so much, but they stay silent so man can exclaim our appreciation."

They show that appreciation in their music, which Mr. Bromhal describes as "kind of indie-rock, downtown dirty folk. All the songs started out on acoustic guitar, written like folk tunes. But now that we've added a bigger band, it's louder than most folk music. It's not pristine in any way.

"It's kind of like the difference between Bob Dylan with an acoustic guitar and Bob Dylan with a band."

And it's all their own music.

"The only time we've ever played covers was Halloween two years ago when we covered a few David Bowie songs," Mr. Bromhal said.

He started the band two years ago this Thursday, when he and his guitar were booked for a gig in Baltimore. While he was getting ready to go, he ran into a couple of his old high school friends -- one a piano player and the other a drummer.

"At the last minute, I asked if they would be willing to play the show with me, and we just continued playing after that. Since then, we've added a bass player, a banjo player and another lead guitar."

A few more years, and he'll have an orchestra.

Mr. Bromhal describes the band as "self-managed."

"I do most of the booking and we just do in-house money management," he said. "It's worked up until now. But the plan is, if we every make enough money to pay someone else to do it, that would probably be better."

It isn't easy, but it's making music, and for the time being, that's what matters.

"Most of us have other things happening, but all of us in the band if we could do this for the rest of our lives, that would be great," Mr. Bromhal said.

They also take turns driving the bus they're in. Tonight's show is the first stop on a weeklong tour with dates in Columbus, Ohio; Louisville, Ky.; Chicago; and Milwaukee.

"This will be our fourth time in Pittsburgh," said Mr. Bromhal. "Our drummer has some family in Pittsburgh and each time they bring out more people. Every show has been bigger and better. So it should be interesting tonight.

"Personally, I love Pittsburgh. We all do. We all like being able to play a show and then go to Primanti Brothers afterward."

The show at Garfield Artworks, 4931 Penn Ave., begins at 8 p.m. There is a $5 cover.

Sharing the bill with Silent Old Mountains are The Marbits and Sarah Lou Richards.

Ms. Richards is a singer-songwriter whose background tracks from Wisconsin to Connecticut to Nashville.

A New York Times piece last year described her as "developing her true voice as a writer and singer of intricately crafted musical slices of life that magically meld folk, pop and Americana influences into hooky, varied, and insightful songs that express her musical and lyrical vision."

So she has that going for her.

Check it out!

Get a preview of tonight's event!

"Dead All the Time" -- Silent Old Mountains

If you have a suggestion for something to do some evening, let us know about it and we'll see if we can get some of our friends to join you. Contact Dan Majors at or 412-263-1456.

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