Pat & Tex LaMountain: Hills and Hollows Music

Rivers Roads & Bridges
Garden Gate Records 1008
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As noted in an earlier post, country music long ago jettisoned its “western” swing half and, in recent decades, it’s pretty much left its rural roots as well. What we now call country music is really just middle-of-the-road rock and roll fronted by dudes wearing cowboy hats and dudettes dressed in fringe and boats. Their material doesn’t come from the heartbeat of America, it’s processed and canned in Nashville. Maybe it’s time to invent a new genre for rural-based acoustic singer/songwriters and call it “hills and hollows.” What else fits artists such as Linda and Robin Williams or the Western Massachusetts duo Pat and Tex LaMountain? 

If you’re looking for recycled hooks, clich├ęs masquerading as profundity, or existential angst, don’t listen to Pat and Tex. If, on the other hand, you enjoy music from folks that actually live in the country, walk in the woods, ride horses, and paddle down rivers, Pat and Tex are your ticket. Forget flash, polish, and spit shine—Pat and Tex make homespun music because they are homespun. A song like “I Will Comfort You” would sound unbelievably hokey from some CMTV duet, but it’s touchingly sweet from life partners such as the LaMountains. Several songs—especially “Down the River” and “Fly like a Bird”—evoke nature as the antidote to urban and workday woes. Overall, the best way to describe their music is that it’s gentle, straight-forward, affirming, and honest. It doesn’t make you want to jump up and sweat—it makes you slow down and do the “Sunderland Bridge Softshoe.” In keeping with its down home flavor, guest artists include local talents such as John White (bass), Pick Mauran (percussion), Jerry Noble (piano), and fiddlers Chris Bashear and Zoe Darrow. No one's there to show off, just add a bit of texture to the LaMountains’ smooth canvass. Hills and hollows music from hills and hollows folks…. Rob Weir

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