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The curiously named female trio Mountain Man bring a haunting beauty to the Appalachian-style Folk songs they love as they showcase their always exquisite harmonies. Mountain Man is a trio of devoted friends for whom music has always seemed so effortless and graceful. Their wondrous songs reflect on the joys, follies, and oddities of existence.
In 2009, when she was a student at a small liberal arts college in New England, Amelia Meath heard a gorgeous sound coming from the living room of her dormitory. She raced downstairs to find Molly Erin Sarlé singing “Dog Song,” a tender tune about lust, longing, and responsibility. Meath demanded that Sarlé, nearly a stranger, teach her the tune, which she, in turn, taught to a friend, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig. The next time the pair saw Sarlé, they sang “Dog Song” to, and then with, her. And so, Mountain Man was born.
The three weren’t quite yet friends when they performed, recorded, and even toured for the first time, but they each felt the chemistry within their combined voices, a sense of artistic kismet and kinship that some spend lifetimes seeking. Acclaim came quickly, with their debut—2010’s Made the Harbor, humbly recorded on rickety equipment in an abandoned factory—earning praise from The New York Times and the Guardian and prompting big tours.
But before they could return to the studio, post-collegiate life intervened. They kept in touch with near-weekly conference calls, growing as friends while taking a break from making music together. At last, they tested their again-blossoming friendship onstage in the summer of 2017 at the Eaux Claires music festival. On a tiny, cabin-like stage tucked into a forest, where audiences of a few hundred are considered big, Mountain Man captivated several thousand, with people climbing trees and fighting through stinging nettles to catch a glimpse or whisper. Hanging on every note and between-song quip, the crowd stood transfixed and silent—a festival miracle, there in the woods. And so, Mountain Man was reborn.
Months later, the trio reconvened at Meath’s home studio in Durham for two recording sessions, each bringing songs destined to be sung with old friends. The result, Magic Ship which was released in 2018, is every bit as captivating as that day onstage. There is sincerity and humor, depth and mirth, all rendered with three voices that have never been more connected.