At 6 p.m. March 8, B&D Burgers patio
At 11 p.m. March 9, B&D Burgers patio
this mountain performs "Desert":
With three memorable Savannah shows already chalked up, the Tennessee band this mountain (all lower-case, if you please) is primed and ready to return for the 2013 Stopover.
Although this mountain began as a primarily acoustic band, anyone who compares the self-titled 2011 EP with Future Ghost, last year's full-length debut, will hear a marked change in both songwriting strength and musical texture.
With atmospheric organ haunts, heavily reverb'd guitar and almost ghostly washed of vocals, this mountain is a clearly a band in the throes of evolution.
"If people compare us to My Morning Jacket, Fleet Foxes and Wilco, that's welcome," says singer and guitarist Matt Martin.
"Those are the kind of bands that have enough people and enough talent to where, if they have an idea - even if it veers away from their specific genre, or what people expect of them - they have fun with it. I mean, every Wilco record is a different experience."
Drummer Andrew Gibbens, who co-founded this mountain with Martin (they write most of the lyrics together, too) agrees that change is a very good thing. "We've already started writing new music," he reports, "and the production of our first release has definitely influenced the way we're writing now. It's given Zach (Chandler), our lead guitarists, some good ideas. And that gets incorporated into the live shows. There's more keyboards and stuff like that."
Rich and exciting, this mountain's live shows are nevertheless a different animal from the recordings.
"I like it when a record sounds a little different from the live show," says Martin. "You get two-for-one. You don't want to go see a band and hear them play exactly like the record, in the exact order."
Bassist Taylor Green and cello player Cody Ledford also play keyboards in a this mountain performance, while banjo man Patrick Taylor is still front and center - whatever the aural experience.
In the studio, things are changing. "We've all played in bands in the past, and everyone in the band at this point is completely focused on servicing the song," explains Martin. "If I like a banjo part that Patrick likes, but if he doesn't feel it, that's his decision. It's for the benefit of the song. There's no ego involved."
Gibbens has a Masters degree in Divinity, and works as a hospice chaplain in the band's hometown, Johnson City. According to Martin, the drummer's ability to really listen - and to explain things - is immeasurably helpful when there might be differences of musical opinion.
Gibbens: "My philosophy of drumming, if you will, is one of conversation. The drums are what kind of maintain the conversation, musically. As for me as a chaplain, one with theological training, listening is one of the primary things that's involved.
"For instance, I could never be a preacher. That's not me. It's not my personality. But to me, this all blends together really well."
The evolution of this mountain - from countrified Americana to space-age acoustic rock ‘n' roll visionaries - is an ongoing process, according to Martin.
"Half the fun of being in a band with six people who can play multiple instruments is that when I bring in a song and they add their ideas, I get to hear the song back in a whole new way," he says. " It's all just as entertaining for us to try and expand and stretch our sound live. Because it keeps things interesting."