A honky tonkin’ good time
Almost any night on Cherry Street, the Town Pump exudes the lyrics to honky tonk tunes in a region rich for creating them.
So the starring role of the bar in “Jukebox,” a video by the Asheville country music band The Honeycutters, seems to have been cast in some honky tonk heaven.
The Honeycutters released their third studio album “me oh my” in April 2015. The first of the five-member band’s 14 tracks is “Jukebox,” a song in which lead singer and songwriter Amanda Anne Platt twangs a catchy good-time tune.
Ty Gilpin is the senior director of marketing for Organic Records, The Honeycutters’s label (as well as the home of a wide variety of artists with genre-defying sounds). Gilpin wrote and directed the video, which was shot in a location he knew during the decade he lived in Black Mountain.
“We knew that the scene for the song was going to involve Amanda as a bartender character in an old honky tonk-type place,” Gilpin said. “We scouted a few places in West Asheville and downtown Asheville. We were actually looking for a place that had a jukebox, and the Town Pump used to be famous for its jukebox, although it’s no longer there.”
The Town Pump and The Honeycutters were a natural fit, Gilpin said.
“They (the band) tout themselves as ‘Appalachian honky tonk,’ and I really don’t know a place around that screams ‘Appalachian honky tonk’ more” than the bar, he said.
Don Talley, a local music insider and the co-manager of the White Horse, suggested the Town Pump to Gilpin. Talley introduced him to J. Martin Productions out of Elkin, which did the videography for the project.
“Amanda (Platt) preferred to bring in someone from nearby than bringing in someone from Nashville, Atlanta or D.C. or some other big city that might not get us as a music community,” Gilpin said. “Someone like Don vouching for J. Martin seemed like a great fit and kept it a little more local. The spirit of that was something we wanted to maintain as we made the video.”
Talley said the atmosphere of the Pump “pretty much sold itself” for the video - and the song.
“That song is a honky tonk song. It’s about a jukebox,” Talley said. “It’s about the lead singer’s ability to reach out to otherwise downtrodden bar patrons and bring some light to their life. They were looking for something with a traditional look, and there really is no other place in Western North Carolina that has the character of the Town Pump.”
Talley served as an assistant producer and an extra on the project, which features appearances from Swannanoa singer-songwriter Lance Mills and local actress Deena Wade.
“It was a quality video that was done using all local resources - the filmmakers, the director, the extras, the band, everything,” Talley said. “This type of quality production used to require you to go to Nashville or Atlanta or Charlotte to find the technical or on-screen talent. Now it can be done here.”
Using local talent allowed Gilpin’s directorial debut to run smoothly. The entire shoot was completed in one nine-hour day.
“Everybody was respectful, polite, energetic, very professional and very excited, so the vibe was good,” Gilpin said. “A great team with great attitudes and a focused vision is what made that go so smoothly.”
The cooperation of the Town Pump was significant as well, he said.
“The Pump is a historic jewel here in Black Mountain. They were great to work with,” Gilpin said. “It’s a place that the community really should be proud of, because they have really hosted some world-class music there.”