Mountain Home – Self Titled (Language of Stone) By Eric Nielsen 10.29.7
Across the dry south of southern California, The Sparrow soars the soundtrack to your lazy eyes watching the hills turn golden as the day slips away. The sky grows orange and yellow, leaving traces of gently blown grasses, all the while the repetitive acoustic instruments float languidly by as the gentle vocals of Kristin Sherer lull you into an enlightened sense of well being.
These five sun-setting pieces come in at 37 minutes and it’s just the right luxurious touch. They range from 5 to 10 minutes each and allow you to dive below the surface to experience the songs from deep beneath the water. “Her skin is as white as the snow and as cold as the snow she lies below.” There is a certain sense of purity and beauty and at the same time, an existential distance remains between the music and listener.
Each song is punctuated with gentle picking patterns on acoustic instruments and sit very delicately in the mix. The third begins with an interesting, hurdy gurdy drone that gently lifts you into Comes the Winter, steadily feeding you throughout. This tone provides excellent reflection room between the songs.
The self-torture we all put ourselves through disappears in this album’s ancient sounding voice, which veils the harsh realities of the day. It transports you in a way that music is supposed to, providing a gentle restraint that most of us can’t muster in light of the modern chaotic day.
Only in mythic California does the combination of gentle bowed whispers melt together on the shore of such simple and ancient songs.
Nottamun Town is a folk piece arranged by Joshua Blatchley, more famously played by Fairport Convention or rearranged by Dylan. It’s talked about being an old Mummer song. “Sat down on a hard, hot cold frozen stone, Ten thousand stood round me, and yet I's alone. Took my hat in my hand for to keep my head warm, Ten thousand got drownded that never was born.” Lyrics so telling of the record’s vibe.