Durham, NC based Progressive Country-Rock band Mount Moriah is scheduled to release their second LP titled “Miracle Temple” on February 26th.
Mount Moriah’s sound is framed around the vocals of Heather McIntire (who previously performed in a post-punk group called “Bellafea”) and guitarist Jenks Miller (formerly from Metal band “Horseback”). Their sound is neither post-punk nor metal. McIntire’s vocals reflect an unashamed honesty and vulnerability that remind one of a young Dolly Parton or Victoria Williams (actually after a couple listens the Dolly Parton comparison is unavoidable, it’s striking). Miracle Temple somehow comes off as a confrontational album with a contemporary Southern rock feel (the music could be compared to bands like The Drive By Truckers, Allgood, or The Averett Brothers). The story lines involve finding a balance between youth, family, religion, adolescence, and self-awareness.
Below: The album cover features an old barn which is violently burning to the ground. The image is reminiscent of a necessary transition which is mismanaged. The stories of youth and the emotion remind are similar to Edie Brickell’s Ghost of a Dog (1990). “Miracle Temple” ages well…it’s a recording that seems to grow on you kind of like getting to know a neighbor.
The introductory tracks (“Younger Days”, “Bright Lights” and “Eureka Springs”) detail the growing pains associated with witnessing the evolution of the Progressive South while retaining knowledge of the culture’s deep rooted resistance to change. “Younger Days” is a sweet ballad about the challenge of going back home. The next track “Bright Light” seems like a tale of a couple of teenagers gaining the courage to do something daring and exciting; with lines like, “Crawl down inside, find the crime. C’mon, girl, find the crime. Fearsome child, show your size, and hold your sight. Can you try to restore and steer yourself tonight?” “Eureka Springs” details the experiences associated with growing up in a God fearing town. The “Eureka Springs” chorus chimes out, “Are you hardened? Can you pardon the very hand? That draws a line into the sand?”
The next couple of tracks give the impression of a family conversation (I Built a Town, White Sands, and Connecticut to Carolina). While listening to “I Built a Town” it’s easy to visualize a parent speaking reflectively to a child who is leaving home. The message I took from “White Sands” was that of a daughter’s plea for free spirit and mutual respect with lines like; “Just a couple of kids, hungry for everything – Honey, that little girl is still alive inside me.”
The second half of the album veers in a more sentimental direction. A song called “Rosemary” is a ‘what could have been moment,’ the track ending with: “Those summer nights you moved so willingly, But we saw only what we chose to see.” The next song “Swannanoa” details the confusion associated with finding one’s self; McIntire sings, “I made sense of the madness, with a broken compass.”
The Religious theme resurfaces with a track called “Miracle Temple Holiness” which slowly builds into a powerful acclamation, the chorus screams out: “If fearness shakes up your holy water, Let it rise, let it rise, let it rise. I’ve seen the darkness take you down with it, Mama –Let it rise, let it rise, let it rise.”
The next two tracks are light teenage stories (Union Street Bridge and Those Girls). “Union Street Bridge” is about going back to an easier time and place. “Those Girls” simply detailed the courting game.
The album concludes with a chapter of regret titled “Telling the Hour” she sings: “Punish me with the cruelest summer. Terrify me with silence, make me desperate. Let me wake alone, make me cry rivers. You can rest your head at night, Knowing I deserved it.”
Catch Heather of Mount Moriah LIVE:
1/29 – The Evening Muse, Charlotte, NC.
1/30 – Emerald Lounge, Asheville, NC.
1/31 – Casbah, Durham, NC.
For full tour dates and more information:
I’m a life-long North Carolinian. Have a curious soul with persistent interest in Music, Sports, and original perspectives.