We first introduced Mount Moriah a duo from North Carolina back in 2011, we mentioned then that their debut eponymous release captured that “70s classic rock vibe” which was served so well back then by Phosphorescent’s Here’s to Taking it Easy. That DIY debut served them very well, garnering praise and acclaim from every quarter.
Well they’re back with a second album…Miracle Temple promises to be equally classic in influence but with a bigger and bolder approach which their new label Merge Records state “sports bigger arrangements, louder guitars, bolder vocals, and more soulful rhythms than their acclaimed self-titled debut. Through their artful personal storytelling, the band develops a piercing portrait of a “New South” where progressive traditions are still fitfully breaking free from conservative ones. Mount Moriah’s cathartic vision for their home and themselves is writ large in their lovingly critical negotiation with romantic, political, and gender identities; geographical perspective; confrontation and forgiveness. The drive for change, resolute but tinged with regret, is arrestingly captured in the cover image of a burning barn.”
“I feel like there’s a lot of confrontation in this record,” McEntire says, “that stems from the confidence we developed doing the first one by ourselves.” That newfound clarity of purpose results in music that balances nervy beauty and resounding force, in beautifully wrought lyrics that compress condemnation and confession into subtle poetry. The perspective is the band’s own, but the richly styled music is rooted in illustrious rock, soul, and country traditions, paying due to the likes of Dolly Parton and Neil Young, Aretha Franklin, and Fleetwood Mac.
At the heart of Mount Moriah are singer/guitarist Heather McEntire and guitarist Jenks Miller. Bassist Casey Toll joined the band in 2010 while James Wallace provided drums, organ, and piano on the album. ‘Miracle Temple’ was recorded over five days at Beech House in Nashville and co-produced by Mark Nevers, Miller, and McEntire; mixed by Nevers; and mastered by Alex McCollough. McEntire, Miller, and Toll wrote the music, with all lyrics by McEntire except for “Union Street Bridge,” co-written with the poet Sarah Messer. Additional tracking was done by Miller, James Wallace, Jeff Crawford, Jaron Pearlman, and Daniel Hart. The expanded arrangements feature an impressive variety of guest stars. Hart provides violin, and Allyn Love plays pedal steel. Indigo Girl Amy Ray sings gospel-tinged backing vocals alongside Bibis Ellison, Ryan Gustafson, and Midtown Dickens’ Will Hackney and Catherine Edgerton.
Miracle Temple will be released on 18th March 2013, here’s a small taster: