A Vermont-based indie folk trio featuring the talents of Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and Amelia Randall Meath, Mountain Man's bucolic, largely a cappella songs draw heavily from the melodies and imagery of traditional Appalachian folk music. Emerging in 2010 with the acclaimed Made the Harbor, the trio went their separate ways the following year, but reconvened in 2018 for their long-awaited sophomore effort Magic Ship.
Sarle, Sauser-Monnig, and Meath met while attending Bennington College, a small liberal arts school in the southwest corner of Vermont. Casual porch singalongs at their house revealed a natural chemistry, which was ushered along by their vocal backgrounds and a shared affinity for everything from the Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir to Celine Dion. After self-releasing a handful of recordings in 2009, the trio caught the attention of Partisan Records, which released their debut album, Made the Harbor, the following year. Recorded in an old ice cream parlor dating from the turn of the 20th century, the LP delivered a rustic blend of Revival-era Gillian Welch, early Watersons, and late-'50s Greenwich Village folk siblings the Kossoy Sisters. The trio spent the next eight years exploring divergent paths, with Sarlé and Sauser-Monnig pursuing solo careers, and Meath teaming up with Nick Sanborn for the electro-pop project Sylvan Esso. Eventually, all three artists found themselves in North Carolina, and decided that their newfound close proximity warranted a Mountain Man reunion. A 2017 performance at the Eaux Claires music festival in Wisconsin hinted at some new music in the works, and in 2018 they issued their sophomore long player, Magic Ship, which featured 11 original songs and three covers, which included the traditional "Bright Morning Stars," Michael Hurley's "Blue Mountain," and Ted Lucas' "Baby Where You Are." ~ James Christopher Monger