Back in 2010 and 2011, the vocal trio Mountain Man became a festival favorite on the strength of its members' rich, reverent vocal harmonies and considerable charisma. (Here's a priceless two-minute refresher, in case you've forgotten.) Then, the group seemed to evaporate, as its members headed in different directions — both literally and figuratively.
Molly Sarlé moved to California and did some solo shows. Alexandra Sauser-Monnig relocated to Minnesota and then North Carolina before releasing a lovely solo record under her own name this year. And, of course, Amelia Meath paired up with Nick Sanborn to form the electro-pop juggernaut Sylvan Esso. But over time, all three wound up back in one place; though Mountain Man formed in Vermont, all three members now live in North Carolina, which made a reunion that much easier to pull off.
Not too long after playing together at last year's Eaux Claires music festival, Mountain Man gathered to record its first album in eight years. Magic Ship, which comes out Sept. 21, has 11 original songs and three covers: the traditional "Bright Morning Stars," Michael Hurley's "Blue Mountain" and Ted Lucas' "Baby Where You Are." Three of the originals — "Window," "Rang Tang Ring Toon" and "Stella" — are already available, and can be heard on this page.
Given Mountain Man's sparse and unadorned vocal arrangements, it's no surprise that Magic Ship picks up more or less right where 2010's Made the Harbor left off — namely, in a timeless space where three voices are all you need to be transported someplace wonderful.
Magic Ship comes out Sept. 21 via Nonesuch. Track list below:
3. Baby Where You Are
4. Rang Tang Ring Toon
6. Blue Mountain
9. Whale Song
12. Slow Wakeup Sunday Morning
13. Bright Morning Stars