Women's History Month I'll be reviewing as many female artists (or at least bands with prominent female members) as I can get to.
I've been meaning to review Chapel Hill's Mount Moriah for a while now. Butch first turned me on to them a couple of years ago and they've been working their way in my play list for some time. The most concise way to describe them is young Dolly Parton meets Crazy Horse / Stray Gators. I realize everyone makes that comparison, but listen to "Plane" and "Words (Between the Lines of Age)" and tell me I'm wrong.
In a review of their most recent LP, Evan Rytlewski said "Mount Moriah no longer sound like an indie band playing country music". That's a fair description of their 2011 debut LP, and to be honest that's what I like about it. Heather McEntire's powerful, haunting voice dominates the band, just edging out Jenks Miller's country/metal guitar sound (see my previous review of Jenks' drone metal band, Horseback). The LP "Mount Moriah" is definitely alt-country with an emphasis on "alt", and also is evidence for the "everyone-in-the-south-likes-at-least-a-little-country" phenomenon Margo Timmins described in the 80s (see my review of "The Trinity Session" for the full quote). You also have to acknowledge their debt to the Indigo Girls, in attitude if not entirely in sound (although I've been to at least one Indigo Girls show where their sound had more in common with Horseback than you might expect -- Joy tells me that's Amy's influence).
Pitchfork gave this LP a good review when it came out, although the CoS review is less favorable. I think Pitchfork got it right: there are no bad songs on this LP and the best songs on the LP are extraordinary.
Standout songs: "Only Way Out" (live version), "Plane" (live version), "Lament" (live version), "Reckoning" (live version)
Skip 'em songs: none.
Final score: 8/10