I, The Mountain – Coal Mine
Ambitious choir-kids must have the posters of Fleet Foxes, and the Lumineers papered around the walls of their houses like a youngster learning to play basketball would have pictures of Michael Jordan adorning his bedroom. The Fleet Foxeshave , once again, made singing in, beautiful, un-grunge like harmony seem very chic. The Lumineers took that sound, stripped the cool away, and made it an act that could fill stadiums and soundtrack phone adverts for the rest of known time.
I, The Mountain share in that “let’s all move back to the country” aesthetic. I cannot condemn their excitement, or fail to recognize the beauty of their singing, playing and the way that Coal Mine is orchestrated. It’s not music that will scare your parents unless they fear you’ve somehow found their hidden collection of CSN&Y records.
Beautiful vocal harmonies dominate the song. Clever, wiry guitar lines add flavour to the song. Percussion thumps are arranged so as to hit at the ideal moments. Coal Mine is a modern folk take on a classic subject matter and packs a great emotional punch.
Jim The Kid – The 701
Ask most songwriters about who the greatest to have put words to music has been and a surprisingly large portion of them might point to Townes van Zandt. A diplomat for the downtrodden and the hopeless losers, van Zandt, is said to have been something of a method actor, leaving his life as close to that of his song subjects as possible. Of course, he didn’t have to, but rarely did he seem intent on considering changing his ways.
Jim the Kid seems to approach writing in much the same way. No mere passer through is he. This is a man determined to observe everything from the smallest of distances, get himself personally involved and then report on it.
The 701 is a tune about the bad reputation endured about bar flies in a small town.
It’s not just the storytelling and confidence of Jim that help sell the song. The 701 benefits from tremendous country guitar picking, and slurred vocals that could hardly persuade a cop of the author’s sobriety, but which we’ve enjoyed hearing here.