Blue Ridge and Red Clay
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Published in: March-April 2012 issue.


Mount Moriah
by Mount Moriah
Holidays for Quince Records


Mount Mariah
Heather McEntire, Jenks Miller, and James Wallace. Photo by D.L. Anderson

THE NEW self-titled album from North Carolina’s Mount Moriah announces in its instrumental introduction on the first track, “Only Way Out,” that its roots are planted firmly in the red clay of the American South. The rich guitar and yearning pedal steel begin to conjure a sense of wide-open spaces before Heather McEntire sings a word. When she does, be prepared: “We learned how our bodies worked, soft and familiar/ But you couldn’t shake the fear of something so similar.” It’s already clear that we’re not on traditional ground, but exactly how far from home is unsure. “You’ll return to him ’cause he reminds you of your father/ and it helps you fall asleep at night and brings you comfort/ I can’t seem to throw away the letters or the pictures/ for some kind of truth or proof that all of this really happened.” If those lyrics in a country setting bring on some cognitive dissonance, take a deep breath now; this song is not a fluke but one part of a stunning, cohesive whole.

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