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Eastmountainsouth: Eastmountainsouth

[cover art]

June 2003 debut CD from country/folk duo Eastmountainsouth, signed to Dreamworks by Robbie Robertson. Robbie is credited as executive producer.

The Los Angeles duo Eastmountainsouth creates their own country/folk blend that's characteristic of their southern upbringings. Comprised of vocalists Kat Maslich and Peter Adams, Eastmountainsouth formed in 1999. Maslich, who was born and raised in Roanoke, VA, on Clinch Mountain (home to bluegrass hero Ralph Stanley), tried to find her place in music with short-lived stints in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, and Atlanta. She came back and forth to Los Angeles in search of clarity and a chance meeting with Adams grounded her. Adams, a native of Birmingham, AL, worked under composer Mikhail Kapsner while studying abroad in Freiburg, Germany. There, he focused on piano, organ, and composition and such an experience motivated Adams to graduate with a B.A. in music from the University of the South in Tennessee and earn a master's degree from the University of Alabama School of Music in Tuscaloosa. In the late '90s, he moved to Los Angeles to study film scoring at USC and befriended Maslich at a TV spot audition. Adams was impressed with Maslich's warm voice and the two quickly learned of one another's songwriting similarities and shared interests in music. In two years time, they christened themselves Eastmountainsouth and had a demo in hand. Robbie Robertson got a copy and inked Eastmountainsouth a deal with Dreamworks; a self-titled debut appeared in summer 2003.
--MacKenzie Wilson, All-Music Guide

Eastmountainsouth's debut album is a simple effort, but just because it's simple doesn't mean it lacks substance. Kat Maslich and Peter Adams have crafted a sweet set of songs for a springlike blend of classic folk and country. They carefully work with the basics when it comes to presentation, however Maslich's and Adams' talent lies in songwriting. Maslich and Adams pull from cherished literature, American culture and family moments to compose their songbook. Each song arrives on its own thanks to the album's organic and earthy tones while waves of passion are heavy without attack. Themes of love and heartbreak resonate throughout without being assuming and if an artist is able to pull that off after fiftysome years of rock & roll, it's pretty impressive. Eastmountainsouth do it and they do it well. Stephen Foster's staple "Hard Times" is reworked for a bittersweet occasion while banjos possess a darker mood on "Winter" and "The Ballad of Young Alban and Amandy." Breathy acoustic riffs carry the album as a whole, but Maslich and Adams experiment with drum machines and electronics. "So You Are To Me" and "Rain Come Down" make out for lamblike melodies and much more full with Easmountainsouth's informal work behind the sound board. One can only imagine that the country-rock duo will continue to work without conventional expectations for their second album. In the meantime, Eastmountainsouth is a great introduction to the band and solid enough to last until then.
--MacKenzie Wilson, All-Music Guide

Tracks

  1. Hard Times
  2. Winter
  3. Ghost
  4. Interlude
  5. You Dance
  6. So Are You to Me
  7. Show Me the River
  8. Rain Come Down
  9. Still Running
  10. All the Stars
  11. Father
  12. Too Soon
  13. The Ballad of Young Alban and Amandy
  14. Mark's Song
  15. On Your Way

Eastmountainsouth - Eastmountainsouth - 2003 - Dreamworks 450418


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