Folk

Lately, we’ve been talking about breakout albums and our favorite music discoveries of 2011. Add Mount Moriah to both lists.

Heather McEntire and Jenks Miller are the two-piece that created Mount Moriah, but their sound is much larger than themselves. That’s because they’ve enlisted the help of friends, including members of Megafaun, St. Vincent, Gayngs, Bowerbirds, and others in creating this album that was recorded and mixed by Brian Paulson (Beck, Wilco).

Mount Moriah opens their debut full length with the pensive “Only Way Out.” McEntire’s sweet vocals float over meandering pedal steel as she tells a tale of heartbreak:

If you would have tried
Then I would have tried
If commitment’s what you wanted
I would have been the anchor by your side

If you would have stayed
Well I would have stayed
But the only way to love you now
Is to walk away

Then the song ends with:

If you were to pray
Oh, I did pray
But the only way to love something
Is to give it away

The album’s tone is overcast, but the melancholy is broken up by uptempo songs like “Social Wedding Rings” and “Lament.” Do not confuse “uptempo” with “upbeat” because there are very few, if any, moments that leave you rejoicing. This was the album’s intent, explained as a “non-traditional take on classic folk themes like devotion, tribulation, redemption, and an indelible sense of place.”

That sense of place is most palpable in “We Don’t Need That Much,” a story about love and long lasting companionship, free from worries about material possessions or financial wealth:

Honey we don’t need that much
Flannel shirts and coffee in camping cups
We’ll use our hands to work and love
Oh the blessings that will come

Honey we don’t need that much
A winter fire, a summer swimmin’ hole
Just hold me tight and hold me close
Through the seasons I’ll watch you grow

Honey when it comes to offering up
A can of coins will never prove what we’re worth
You’ll have my word and you have my trust
We’ll have more than enough

Heather McEntire and Jenks Miller admit to resenting their North Carolina Southern Gospel background in past years. Fans of country and folk music should be thankful to them for embracing these musical roots. Mount Moriah’s debut is a marvelous batch of sad songs with vocals that can become an ear addiction. If you were a fan of The Everybodyfields, I’d highly recommend this album.

Mount Moriah – Only Way Out

Mount Moriah – Lament

Video: Mount Moriah – Old Gowns

Video: Mount Moriah – Lament

 

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bosque brown

Bosque Brown is all set to release their sophormore album, Baby,‚  in March of this year. Vocals and percussion will be front and center on the minimalist album and Mara Miller’s sweet vocals will tell tales inspired by her small town Texas upbringing.

I haven’t checked out the debut and at first I didn’t think Bosque Brown would be my cup of tea, but I keep playing “Went Walking.” It’s a haunting, nostalgic, folk ditty that would make Karen Dalton proud.

Bosque Brown – Went Walking

Let’s throw in a Karen Dalton tune for shits and grins.

Karen Dalton – Katie Cruel

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My Dad always says “never trust a man with two first names.” He never said anything about three first names. I guess Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson is either a gentleman or Satan in flesh.

I’ve been in and out of following baseball this year, but the story of Josh Hamilton is astonishing. The guy was homeless, hooked on crack and down about 90 pounds off his playing weight before turning his life around and finding his way back into major league baseball. Now he’s batting over .300 with 32 home runs and a .543 slugging percentage. Oh, and he leads the league in RBI’s.

Why, Oz, are you talking baseball? Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson was in a similar situation before clawing his way out of addiction. He’s only 24 years old, but was homeless and sleeping on park benches in Coney Island. Thankfully, he got clean enough to put out this folk inspired album that now has me addicted.

The tracks below will give you a good sense of the entire body of work. MBAR’s sound is not clean and tidy.‚  His delivery is lazy and organic, like the old guy at the end of the bar that mutters somewhat incoherently to himself after 6 or 7 brown colored cocktails. The more you listen, however, the more sense he makes. “Buriedfed” leads off and it’s one of those tracks that make it difficult to move through the rest of the album. Eventually you will and you’ll find yourself craving its imperfections. I’m already regretting writing this review because two weeks from now, I’ll see the full beauty of the album and know that I didn’t do it justice.

MySpace | Say Hey Records

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Buriedfed

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – The Debtor

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – “Buriedfed” Video

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a3O8rsGl5o[/youtube]

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