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Mountain Heart - That Just Happened

  by Lisa Torem

published: 11 / 9 / 2011

Mountain Heart - That Just Happened
Label: MH Music Group
Format: CD


Fantastic sixth studio album from roots-based Nashville bluegrass band, Mountain Heart

Jim VanCleve, Aaron Ramsey, Josh Shilling, Barry Abernathy, Jake Stargel and Jason Moore make up the Nashville-based Mountain Heart. On 'The Road That Never Ends', a live album recorded in 2007, the band flexed bluegrass muscles, as expected, but also featured Josh Shilling’s cavernous vocals - which borrow from New Orleans and Memphis – as well as his inventive Hammond B3 and acoustic key arrangements. Their newest release 'That Just Happened' leaves you writhing for more. True, it’s always difficult to capture this kind of rootsy band’s sound on a recording – their live performances are known for being riveting which I can testify having just seen them - and part of the allure of Mountain Heart is how they blend acoustic, roots instruments so well and share the stage so spontaneously. But, if hearing them live is not an option, 'That Just Happened' is an enchanting alternative. The title track crescendos artfully after a subtle, constrained introduction. Guest artists include vocalist John Cowan and drummer Eddie Bayers who tastefully tenderize an already juicy cut. Multi-instrumentalist Ramsey detonates Dobro and mandolin full-force and Abernathy’s banjo playing is as vibrant and efficient as every lush and piercing note on VanCleve’s fiddle. Co-written by VanCleve and lead singer Shilling, the song is fresh and perfect for this buoyant ensemble. ‘Little Sadie’, an old bluegrass standard, is high-energy, yet delightfully plaintive. ‘Even if it Breaks my Heart’ heads more into ballad terrain and two more co-writes by Shilling - ‘Same Old Heartache’ and ‘Just Get Up and Go’ hook us on the band’s harmonic fluency. Their closer is ‘Whipping Post’ by Greg Allman. This classic cover brings out the very best in Mountain Heart. Amazing tempo shifts and lusty solos combine to make this a grand signature piece. Shilling is in his element as his voice bends blues notes and his keys echo his weary pleas. This rendition dips, swerves and fascinates while paying respect to the genres of jazz, blues and classic rock’s most acclaimed jam bands. That said, if you still say Mountain Heart is simply bluegrass – Bah Humbug!

Track Listing:-
1 That Just Happened
2 Little Sadie
3 Even If It Breaks My Heart
4 Same Old Heartache
5 Just Get Up and Go
6 The Ride
7 Whipping Post

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Interview (2011)
Mountain Heart - Interview
Josh Shilling, the singer with acclaimed Nashville-based bluegrass band Mountain Heart, speaks about joining the already established group and their latest studio album, 'That Just Happened'

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