San Diego , CA ‘s Mountain Home is releasing their eponymous debut CD on Language of Stone, the Philadephia-based label run by Greg and Jessica Weeks (members of Espers and Woodwose respectively). The album was recorded and mixed to entirely analog formats at Greg’s Hexham Head studio with Weeks producing. Guest musicians include Fern Knight’s Margie Weink and Greg. Mountain Home is released September 25 on Language of Stone, distributed by Drag City Records.
Mountain Home began by accident when future member Ilya Monosov (banjo, acoustic guitar, hurdy gurdy) called Joshua Blatchley (vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonium) to fill in for his group when another member was stricken by the flu. Blatchley showed up to the gig with a few loose Derek Bailey inspired solo guitar pieces to perform. The show prompted Joshua to take a new approach to music experimenting more with fluidity of structure and arrangement. The material that wound up comprising Mountain Homereflects this in that the music seems simple and free, but underlying arrangements are jagged, concise and deliberate. Joshua’s new direction began to grab the attention of his counter-part Kristin Sherer who decided to join him in this new endeavor. Then Ilya came on board – though he soon moved to the Baltimore/Washington DC area and had to fly back and forth to help in the writing and recording demos.
Blatchey and Sherer were both fans of old-time, traditional styles, particularly that which migrated across the Atlantic to the Appalachians and that became an important influence. Two songs on Mountain Homeare numbers which have been sung for generations, “Omie Wise” and “NottamunTown”; the other tunes were penned to mirror their brooding quality and could well be mistaken for authentic folk numbers. These are all songs about death, regret, love, love lost, and then death again; we should always be reminded that we’re not alone in death — the generations who went before were gripped by the same fears as us. Joshua and Kristin’s leaning towards vintage rural sounds also informed their choice of primary instrumentation: dulcimer and acoustic guitar. However, rather than adopting the open D guitar tuning common to rural music, they chose Classical standard tuning yielding more of a challenge, as well as more options in playing and composition. Ultimately, Mountain Home promulgate an earthen visage and wooden sound capable of bleeding sap into the veins of city dwellers and suburban refugees the world over. Mountain Home works as much as inspiration as actualization, and Mountain Home sing the gospel soundly.