On Eagle Mountain
2016 / Todd Mosby
Review by Kathy Parsons
If I had to choose only one word to describe Todd Mosby’s On Eagle Mountain, it would be “serene.” I’m sure that’s a word that means different things to different people, but for me, this is the music of an artist at peace with his inner world as well as the physical and spiritual worlds. Mosby’s seventh album, this music overflows with substance and emotion as well as elegant beauty. Produced by the wonder-team of Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton at Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studio in Vermont, the album features Mosby’s masterful guitar compositions accompanied by many of the stellar musicians who often appear on Ackerman/Eaton productions: Tony Levin (basses), Charlie Bisharat (violin), Eugene Friesen (cello), Premik Russell Tubbs (ewi, woodwinds), Michael Manring (bass), Jeff Haynes (percussion, textures), Noah Wilding (vocals), and Jill Haley (English horn) as well as Ackerman and Eaton.
It is interesting to note that in addition to his mastery of western musical traditions such as bluegrass, fusion, jazz and sophisticated pop music, Mosby is the only guitarist to become a member of the famed Imdad Khani Gharana, India’s royal family of sitar ustadt musicians with an unbroken chain dating back 500 years. He also co-created a new instrument called the Imrat guitar, which he plays on two of the eleven tracks. Mosby is considered to be one of the finest jazz guitarists in St. Louis, has written imaginative technical books for guitar, and has invented an assortment of products that enrich and enhance artistic expression.
On Eagle Mountain opens with “Spirit of the Mountain,” a shimmering free-form piece that features Mosby on Imrat guitar and Tom Eaton on bells, bowls, synth pads and textures. This beautiful piece lets you know right away that this album will be something different. It segues into “Soaring,” a short ambient piece with Tubbs on ewi and Eaton on synth pad and textures. “Soaring” in turn segues into “Eagle Mountain,” a piece composed during “the coldest week of the coldest month of the coldest year ever in the mountains of Vermont.” The mood of this piece is one of peacefulness, possibly inspired by falling snow. Jill Haley adds her magic to the softly flowing “Colorado, Missouri” along with Mosby’s gentle guitar and Levin’s bass - kind of like floating on a cloud. “Jack’s Fork” was inspired by “the most beautiful river I have ever floated” and features an ensemble of artists expressing the wonder of that experience. “Spirit Dancer” picks up the tempo a bit with a fascinating fusion of jazz and Indian styles. “Ode to Joe” is a heartfelt acoustic guitar solo that overflows with love and tenderness. A sweet duet for acoustic guitar and cello, “Mountain Lullaby” is so soothing! “Star Song” brings this excellent album to a peaceful and enchanting close.
On Eagle Mountain is guitar and ensemble music at its best. It is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
May 2, 2016