1131 S. Broad Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Mount Moriah

Mount Moriah

Skylar Gudasz

Sat, March 12, 2016

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

The Boot & Saddle

Philadelphia, PA


This event is 21 and over

Mount Moriah
Mount Moriah
The North Carolina-based band Mount Moriah-composed of Heather McEntire (lead vocals, guitar), Jenks Miller (lead guitar, keys), and Casey Toll (bass, keys)-seem insistent to grow. If Mount Moriah's self-titled debut showed them standing with sea legs, determined to dream their way free from the dark crevices and corners of alt-country's stiff template; and if Miracle Temple, their second album, called that darkness by its Southern name and met it with fire; then their latest collection of songs, How to Dance, is a devotion to the cosmic light itself: moving towards it, moving into it, becoming it. Mount Moriah's third full-length sees them stretching further to explore their collective interest in the intangible fringes of fate and synchronicity. With How to Dance, the band presents new themes of symbolism, mysticism, alchemy, universality, sacred geometry. There is color, confidence, self-direction, joy. There is also darkness, but only to show you how it found its light.

Recorded largely in Pittsboro, North Carolina, and in home studios with the help of long-time collaborator, engineer Nick Petersen; mixed by Brian Paulson (Beck, Wilco, Slint) and Jenks Miller; and mastered by James Plotkin (Tim Hecker, Horseback, Jack Rose), How to Dance not only suggests a wide excavation of buried meaning and heaps of transparent revelation-it also testifies to an expansion into more textured and muscular sonic expressions. In previous efforts, the band carefully cleared space for McEntire's vocal prowess to direct the scenes; on this record, it serves to amplify the importance of the essential talents around her, balancing structure with fragility, omission with plurality. The trio welcome echoes from their other music projects-Miller's psych-metal Horseback, McEntire's post-punk Bellafea, and Toll's experimental jazz-noise ensembles. Guest vocalists Angel Olsen, Mirah Zeitlyn, and Amy Ray weave supporting harmonies into McEntires melodic snapshots. Guest instrumentalists Terry Lonergan (drums and percussion), Daniel Hart (strings), Jeb Bishop (trombone and trumpet), Matt Douglas (saxophone), and Allyn Love (pedal steel) add fresh angles to the soundscapes helmed by Miller and Toll. They create an architecture layered in tones-the jubilant horn arrangements, the ardent string patterns, the moody Mellotron, the decisive rhythm section, the unabashedly gallant guitar lines atop guitar lines. Welded together in sparks, these blueprints enhance and reinforce McEntires spirited towers of stories, inspiring more abstract imagery and complex concepts to support the narratives.

Lyrically, within How to Dance, there is less emphasis on personal identity and instead, a concentration on mythic experiences and cross-cultural archetypes, both inherited and discovered. The questions become: How are we all related What do we all share The tired nostalgia so present in much of what is called Southern art is transformed into a kind of universalism, a thing that reaches far past itself. Art that stays, Southern or otherwise, is art that is larger than the rest, art that destroys the old-but only after honoring and questioning the history on which we cut our youthful teeth. It uses the parts of itself to reconstruct something brand new. Within the goldenrod, the blood red moon, the golden hours, the crow and stag and raven; beyond the Jacksonville boys, at the Jones Ferry crossing, under the Precita streetlights, behind the clairvoyant's eyes, in the smoke rising from farm gates there is hope. Somewhere in the depths of anguish there is optimism, right there on the edge of the darkness-the faith that the magic of the world will not let you down completely. In How to Dance, Mount Moriah is still asking questions and searching for answers, but the vision is distilled down to its own act of seeking. Once illusive, the purest forms of magic have become obtainable, have become a seasoned new language, have been lifted high in the air.

In I'm Not There, a film supposition of Bob Dylan's life, the version of Dylan played by Cate Blanchett-the pre-motorcycle crash, Blonde on Blonde Dylan-says that "a poem is like a naked person," and then, blending into the same line, "but a song is something that walks by itself." Mount Moriah have created a continuous dialogue with humanity, with the metaphysical, with the ecology right in front of us. Here, in How to Dance, everything walks by itself.
Skylar Gudasz
"Sometimes a whisper can say more than all the shouting in the world.

Skylar Gudasz writes subtly evocative, quietly powerful songs, and she performs them with an understated authority that resonates deeply in the listener's soul. The 26-year-old Durham, NC-based artist's sublimely expressive voice and effortlessly enchanting compositions disarm cynicism and defy easy categorization, embodying a timeless blend of worldly insight and open-hearted innocence.

Although she's yet to release a solo record, Skylar has already won considerable international acclaim, thanks in part to her spellbinding performances as part of the all-star touring Big Star Third tribute concerts, with which she's appeared in such far-flung locales as New York, Chicago, London, Sydney and Barcelona, as well as at the SXSW music festival in Austin, TX. As an unsigned unknown sharing the stage with such notable artists as Ray Davies, Robyn Hitchcock, Sharon Van Etten and members of R.E.M. and Wilco, she commanded the attention of fans and critics, as well as her fellow performers. The Sydney Morning Herald called her "the most impressive figure of the night," while the shows' musical director Chris Stamey noted, "She'd sing 'Thirteen' or 'Dream Lover,' and time would stop." Indeed, the response she received from live crowds was so profound that it soon became known among her tourmates as "the Skylar effect."

Her breakout performances in the Big Star concerts convinced Stamey (known for his work as a solo artist and with the dB's, as well as his production for the likes of Ryan Adams and Alejandro Escovedo) to take Skylar into the recording studio, tapping the talents of noted avant-garde clarinetist Ken Vandermark, southern pop godfather Mitch Easter, Brad Cook of Megafaun, Michael Blair (Elvis Costello, Tom Waits), Casey Toll (Mt. Moriah), and several talented young musicians from the fertile Chapel Hill alt-pop scene. The resulting recordings mark Skylar Gudasz as both a unique talent and a major artist in the making." - Scott Schinder
Venue Information:
The Boot & Saddle
1131 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19147