Mount Moriah Plays Through The Other Side Of Darkness

Mar 25, 2016

Casey Toll (bass, keys), Heather McEntire (lead vocals, guitar), Jenks Miller (lead guitar, keys)
Credit Lissa Gotwals / Merge

Triangle-based Mount Moriah has released a new collection of songs.  How To Dance is the third album for Heather McEntire, Jenks Miller and Casey Toll.  These songs have the feeling of searching or being on a quest, heading down the road with an optimistic lean toward the light and the spark found in the trek through life.

The song "Baby Blue" reflects on the fleeting nature of things: Relationships, life, whatever.  McEntire says she was grappling with depression and anxiety.  "Baby Blue" is a pep talk she wrote to herself.

"I don't mean to be dramatic, but this record saved my life," McEntire says.

Meanwhile, the track "Chirion" sounds more like a celebration of moving onto better things.

Casey Toll says he respects McEntire's approach to the journey.

"Heather is, like, telling the other side of the story," he says. "As opposed to being lost in the darkness, which is something I feel like is glorified in art at lot, or like, romanticized. She's, like, telling the other side of like coming out of it."

How To Dance features ghosts and visions passing through the songs, but there is a firm sense of place in nature and in some of the landmarks. (Shout out to US Route 15/501 and Grizzly Peak!)

Indigo Girl Amy Ray backs up McEntire on "Higher Minds," in which they sing of blizzards, bibles and the wish for a "heavy lesson" from your Maker.

McEntire says creating the album was a powerful experience, supported by Toll and Jenks Miller.

"It's profound," Miller said. "This last year was really exciting for me. it's also been very hard. Having (an) artistic statement that is collaborative, that is embodying that experience... is empowering."

Mount Moriah plays the Cat's Cradle Saturday at 8 p.m. to celebrate the release of How To Dance.