this mountain | Still Waters (s/r)

cd StillwatersThis is the best folk-rock band you’ve never heard of.



Music: Most will agree that it’s the universal language. You don’t have to speak the language in which it’s sung and it will still speak to you. Music has no boundaries and will reach to the ends of the world. Hopefully, whatever band is your flavor will invoke some kind of feeling within. That’s exactly what Still Waters by this mountain does. Their last album has me on a train ride of emotion, and this one takes that ride even further. Every song on this latest release invoked something inside of me, and that’s exactly what music should do.

So, you’re asking, “Who is this mountain?” (Yes, their band name is all lowercase. I dig that.) This is taken directly from their Bandcamp page: “this mountain is a collaborative folk-rock band from Johnson City, TN. We’ve been making music together since the fall of 2010. In the fall of 2011 we released a four song, self-titled EP (available for free here) and released our first full-length album, Future Ghost, August 21, 2012.”

Now that is out of the way, I will say that this is THE best folk-rock band you’ve never heard of. I’ll put money on that. These guys are good—I mean, really dang good. The vocals are unique and lead vocalist Matthew Martin packs a punch. The instruments are clean and tight. I can’t just write an overall review of this album; I have to go into reviewing every song (more of a “this is what I felt” review). So sit back and enjoy this. I hope by the end, you’ll want to head over to their Bandcamp page and download the album.

“Still Waters” | It’s the title track of this album and sets the mood for the rest of the record. This song is a set up for what’s to come. The beginning has a lonesome, just “suck you in and grab hold of your heart” feeling to it—and then, when it gets you, the raw emotion just explodes from those instruments and you can’t help but to start nodding your head. Nod on, my friends, nod on.

“Before You’re Awake” | Right when things picked up, we’re taken back to a calm, mellow feeling. It’s rich in vocals and instruments. Solid song.

“Lie to Me” | This song starts off a bit more lively than the previous two, like Martin has something to get off my chest. Is this about a breakup? Maybe so; that’s how I’m going to take it. First thing I thought of was wanting one of my exes to lie to me and I’ll convince myself to say: “But really, just get away from me, far, far away.” After listening to this song, I think about that ex who made me feel grounded in her and literally broke down all my walls and left me to rebuild them. (I have no idea what the song is about; I haven’t asked the band. I’m OK with that because I want it to have feeling for me.)

“Honest” | To me, this is a perfect follow-up to “Lie to Me.” We just got something off our chest and now it’s time to question ourselves. This song is calm and relaxing, but put me in a world of confusion: Not confusion as in the song itself, but the feeling I’ve had before: “How can people be that way when all I wanted to do was be honest?’

“Appalachia” | First off, lets clear up how to say this word correctly: It’s “App-ah-lach-uh.” There is no other way to say it. So practice that before you come at me with all that “App-ah-L-A-Sha” junk. OK, back to the song. Shortest track on the album, and it doesn’t need to be any longer. This is the ultimate relaxation point of the album. I just want to go lay in the Appalachias and listen to the life around me. It’s a place of solitude. That song gets the point across and is a beautiful description of the place I grew up in and still call my home. I love the Appalachias. Thanks for this song, guys; it’s a treat to anyone.

“Ego Death” | The longest track on the album at a whopping 8:56. Nearly nine minutes on a folk-rock album. Does anyone make songs longer than four minutes anymore? These guys do, and honestly, this song could go on for 10 minutes and I’d still be jamming it out. What happens when your ego gets out of whack? I’m guessing it’s this song. “I feel as if I’m already dead”—haven’t we all felt that way before? I’d say you’re a liar if you say no. When my ego has been crushed in the past, I’ve just felt like falling over and dying. The instruments, lyrics, and vocals take all the feelings I’ve ever felt before and wrapped them up neatly in an 8:56 explanation. Kudos for this—seriously, major kudos. The last third of this song is heavy on the instruments and it is worth every second.

“Reflection” | Beam me up, Scotty. After that heavy impact on my brain, can someone pick me up? No, it’s something I need to do on my own. I need to suck it up and realize my own mistakes and take responsibility. The outside world can’t see what I see. Only I can see myself and my world. The song itself is really clean and tight. It’s a good song to “reflect” on (as clichéd and cheesy as that line is, it really is).

“Die for You” | The second-longest track on the album, and deservingly so. It’s an emotional hard song. It tugs at your heart strings and gut. The emotion in this song is raw and real. It’s a real treat to hear.

“Give Your Thoughts” | “Give all your thoughts to God/ Tell of the truth, you want to be alive.” I can’t decide if I’m finally getting over myself and giving it all up to God and falling into a void that has never been filled. I feel like this is the point where I just have to let go and fill that void of not feeling wanted. This song really got me worked up. At one point, I completely thought it was talking about falling into a void of just ending life. Emotional song. Good song; emotional, though.

“Clay” | After this train ride of emotions, I need to sit back and just think about life to this point. When I was younger, could I ever see myself at this point? We all have regrets. Usually an ex. “How could I know true loves sweet kiss, while carelessly letting it go?/ But the past is a stone while the future is still clay. I can still mold”. Could it be said any more true? It’s life. Our past is stone; there is no changing it—but the future, the future is still being molded like clay. It’s a beautiful thing about life. This song is lyrically beautiful.

I’ve listened to this album over and over to get a feel for it. It wasn’t until I actually started writing that it all came crashing down and the real emotional train ride came out. This album is beautifully written, full of real emotions that we have all felt or still will feel. The musical craftsmanship is singlehandedly some of the best in that region of the Appalachians. These guy are the real deal. The only downside to the album was the ending: It left me wanting more. There is a void that needs to be filled, and it’s another this mountain album.

This is truly remarkable and cannot praise it enough. Two thumbs way up. | Adam Robinson

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply