Album Reviews

Blue Mountain

Dog Days

Artist:     Blue Mountain

Album:     Dog Days

Label:     Roundrunner Records

Release Date:     07/01/2016


Blue Mountain is the band that shoulda been, coulda been. In the pantheon of classic Americana, they never achieved the recognition and respect accorded bands like Wilco, Son Volt, Jayhawks or the grandaddy of them all, Uncle Tupelo, but that doesn’t man they weren’t deserving. Helmed by husband/wife/collaborators bassist Laurie Stirratt and guitarist Cary Hudson, the Oxford Mississippi-based band was initially signed by Roadrunner Records label, which released their second album Dog Days featuring new drummer Frank Coutch in 1995. Appropriating many of the same songs featured on their largely ignored debut album, it brought the group some well deserved recognition but little more than a cult following at the same time. Although other albums would follow over the next decade (1997‘s Home Grown, 1999‘s Tales of a Traveler, 2001 Roots, a final farewell live release of 2002‘s Tonight It’s Now or Never, and two later studio efforts Midnight in Mississippi and Omnibus, both released in 2008), Blue Mountain never fully hit its stride and eventually dissolved in 2013.

Still, Dog Days retains a certain reverence and fascination in much of the same way that the aforementioned roots bands attained their own notoriety through their defining early efforts. Produced by Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, whose resume includes work with the Del Lords, Nils Lofgren, Steve Earle and the Bottle Rockets, it boasted the prerequisite amount of grit and verve needed to establish its mark on the fertile heartland sound that they emulated so well. Several of its songs helped set the standard — “Mountain Girl,” “Blue Canoe” and “Jimmy Carter,” among them — and when the album was remastered and expanded with nine additional tracks in 2008, it became increasingly clear that indeed Blue Mountain could claim their masterpiece. Sadly, far too many people still failed to take notice, prompting this vinyl version in the way of a double album eight years later. Whether or not, Blue Mountain get the belated kudos they deserve remains to be seen, but Dog Days still has as much bark and bite as ever.

– Lee Zimmerman

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