Mountain Man Live on WFUV

Mountain Man – Molly, Alex, and Amelia – brought their gorgeous harmonies and stirring, soulful performances over to NPR recently.  You can hear the session – which is part introduction, part interview, and part performance – right now by following this link.  Also, follow me to hear more:

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Mountain Man – “Soft Skin”

It’s true that our brains are fundamentally designed to perceive harmony.  We separate the world out by like and unlike, and we order things based on categories of similarity.  It’s what we do, and, in some cases, it happens entirely without our knowing.  Musical harmony is one of those things that just happens.  The brain already knows about musical patterns.  Play an ascending scale for someone, stop on the 7th, and their brain will still resonate at the missing frequency (octave).  When it comes to harmony, we have all kinds of ideas about consonance and dissonance, and these are directly tied to our emotional centers… Harmony simply flows through us, and stirs heart and mind in equal measure.

All of this being a roundabout way of saying that it’s no surprise that the gorgeous, haunting harmonies of Vermont’s Mountain Man are often the focus of reviews.  Stereogum writes:

As everyone mentions, Vermont trio Mountain Man doesn’t include any men. What they don’t always mention — Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and Amelia Randall Meath often harmonize like one person ghost lost in the Appalachians, all shadows and dew and shooting stars (even when they’re playing indoors in the afternoon at SXSW).

And their bio at Partisan – the label that is releasing Made The Harbor on July 20th – adds:

The music of Mountain Man is nestled in the tradition of American folk, but shoots like diamond dust out of the nest into the high, wide atmosphere. Their songs are shaped by three searching voices, encompassing harmonies and a shared belief in and love of the world.

There’s not really a lot to add.  The music is, indeed, ethereal, and it commands your full attention.  It has a beauty that speaks of ancient ways of storytelling, and also a vibrancy that speaks to a living, oral tradition.  It is both earthy and sophisticated, and, above all else, it is beautiful.  Follow me for some songs from their 2009 Mountain Man, a copy of “Soft Skin” from their forthcoming Made The Harbor, and a performance video:

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