Meet the Band - Mt. Thelonious

Creating a modern spin on folk music is St. Louis' own Mt. Thelonious. Making up the band are Ian Lubar - vocals/guitar, Alyssa Avery - violin/vocals and Mark Wallace - double bass. With new music on the horizon, we're thrilled to welcome Mt. Thelonious into our #TPFamily! Continue on to read a little bit about the band and their music from Ian, Alyssa, and Mark!

How did you come together to form Mt. Thelonious?

We met while pursuing our Bachelors of Music at Webster University. We noticed an immediate chemistry when we first started playing together. We started initially with improvising over jazz and American roots music and eventually this morphed into our own specific sound. 

How would you describe your sound?

We fluctuate between modern and exciting, sensitive and thoughtful. We often describe ourselves as high energy improvisatory modern American folk music. 

When did you start playing music?

We started officially as a band in the fall of 2012, but since we played music together in college so feels much longer! 

What is your favorite moment of performing for a live audience?

Playing Kerrville Folk Festival was our ideal performance experience. The festival generates roughly thirty thousand visitors a year. However, while the festival environment is exhilarating we enjoy the intimacy of an attentive house concert setting.   

What influences your music the most?

Our music is influenced by the collective experiences of everyone in the band. We have traveled the country enough and become immersed in each others lives enough that the sound we have created has become very natural and easy to create.

Where did the name originate from?

Even though it's not the music we play now, we met studying jazz. “Thelonious” is a reference to the jazz pianist Thelonious Monk.

Do you have any words to live by or life motto for the band?

Try to be a positive force in the world.

How has the band changed over the years?

When we started performing we initially gravitated to American Roots standards that interpreted in a very conservative fashion. It wasn’t until we started embarking on national tours that we really formed the sound we have today. Our modern folk aesthetic was born from constant experimentation and exploration.

Who would be your dream collaboration?

So many people, but particularly some of our musician heroes.  We would love to work with Tom Waits, David Robertson, John Prine, Edgar Meyer, or Chris Thile.

Do you have a favorite performance that you’ve done in the past or been a part of?

Kerrville Folk Festival was amazing. The sense of community we felt there was powerful and the Texas hill country is beautiful.

What is one thing you’ve learned as a touring band?

Attitude is everything. If you choose to have a positive experience you will. 

If they made a documentary about the band, who would be on the soundtrack?

I would like to think we would use our albums!

Why do you play music?   

Because we have no choice, it is our common cause.

What is the first record you bought? Where did you listen to it?

Ian - Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced, in my dad’s music room
Alyssa - Barrage Live in Europe (on tape!), in the car - especially on road trips
Mark - The Offspring’s Americana, on my walkman constantly. 

If you could play on any stage, where would it be?
Red Rocks Amphitheater. So many great musicians have played on that stage over the years. Also, the naturally occurring rock structures that make the amphitheater are absolutely stunning.

When can we expect to hear new music?
New music will be coming in July!

When you’re not playing music you…

We are spending time with our dogs and cats, teaching music, biking, making videos (Mark), working on his culinary prowess  (Ian), or making pottery (Alyssa).

Does anyone in the band have an unusual talent?

In his spare time, Ian is learning to brew beer and is studying to be a certified cicerone.

If you could perform a concert in any country which would you choose and why?
That's a hard question. Everywhere and anywhere, really. We would love to travel the world performing. There's almost nothing better than connecting with new and different people through music. 

Fun Facts?
Alyssa has spent time in Montana on dinosaur digs and has a box of fossils at her house.

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