Blue Mountain – Dog Days

ARTIST: Blue Mountain Blue_mountain_dog_days

TITLE:  Dog Days

YEAR RELEASED: 1995

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Wink

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Only if I mixed CDs for you, probably.

LINEUP: Cary Hudson, Laurie Stirratt, Frank Coutch

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Alt-country band hits the sweet spot with storytelling, country influences, and enough of a rock influence to blast it when it’s needed.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Sometimes it’s hard for alt-country bands to straddle the line between wanting to respect the traditions of country and wanting to add new elements to the mix. Blue Mountain is successful here, no matter if they go mostly acoustic, electric, or rootsy.

They definitely can rock it out, with a country twinge, on great cuts like “Soul Sister” (my favorite) and “A Band Called Bud”. “Slow Suicide” isn’t really country at all, but a dark and powerful meditation. Then they go to tracks like “Jimmy Carter”, which is a gleeful hoedown celebrating that president. Stirratt’s harmonies work well with Hudson’s voice.

Blue Mountain was a fresh voice in that genre when this came out, and it still sounds fresh. It’s definitely recommended for those wanting to venture outside of Uncle Tupelo or Whiskeytown when it comes to alt-country.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They released a self-titled album two years before, but it was a very independent production and has vanished. Some of those cuts were re-recorded for this record, and some have been appended as bonus tracks.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, see above.

GRADE: A-: My only quibble is that a couple songs could have been trimmed to make a more concise statement. Still, a great alt-country record.

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