Magnolia Mountain - Redbird Green [CD]Category: Magnolia CompactIn February 2009, when Cincinnati-based Americana powerhouse Magnolia Mountain released their debut album, Nothing As It Was, it was praised by alt-weekly CityBeat as a soulful, haunting, and pure album by an amazing band that announced Mark Utley as one of the finest songwriters in the area. Now, a year and a half later, after countless live gigs and an exciting fine-tuning of the line-up of band members, comes Redbird Green, an ambitious 17-song double album that showcases the impressive organic musical growth of one of the midwests finest roots music groups. From the opening Johnny Cash swagger of Gone, through the Appalachian/Cajun musical stew of Ma Belle Marie, the backporch stomp of Medicine Man, the electric alt. Country rock of Like Any Other, to the Black Gospel-infused I Do Believe and beyond, Redbird Green bolts out of the gate with a dizzying array of American musical styles. Redbird Green is full of Magnolia Mountains trademark instrumental prowess and gorgeous two-, three-, and four-part vocal harmonies. The beautiful three-part harmonies of Utley, Melissa English, and Jordan Neff are now augmented by the addition to the band of Neffs partner in Shiny & the Spoon, Amber Nash. The bands signature interplay of acoustic and electric instruments is on full display on the new album, even moreso with the addition of Cincinnati music icon David Rhodes Brown (Warsaw Falcons, 500 Miles to Memphis) to the formidable line-up of guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Neff, Bob Lese on mandolin, folk harmonica and blues harp, Utley on acoustic guitar and banjo, upright bassist Bob Donisi and drummer Matt Frazer. Magnolia Mountain is joined on this album by a veritable whos who of Cincinnati roots musicians, including Ed Cunningham (Comet Bluegrass All-Stars), Mike Oberst (The Tillers), Jessie Berne (Lagniappe), Adam Pleiman (KY Struts), Rashon Murph (The Joneses), and more. Redbird Green reflects Magnolia Mountains big tent approach to Americana music with songs like the bluegrass-influenced Early Morning Train, country-flavored tunes like Savannah and Emma Claire, the western swing yodel of Cry, Baby, the snaky swamp-blues of Opalene, the 50s R&B throwback Reconsider (Please Dont Go), and the rockabilly rocket ride of the bands raucous show-stopper Hellbound Train. Also included are a haunting cover of Hank Williams Long Gone Lonesome Blues and an updated adaptation of West Virginia coal mining activist Elaine Purkeys labor classic One Day More, rewritten to reflect the bands passion to fight the scourge of mountaintop removal coal mining in the Appalachian mountains. The album ends with the title track, a Springsteen-styled meditation on the American Dream as seen through the eyes of an unemployed father struggling to hang on. The album reunites the band with producer John Curley (Afghan Whigs) at Ultrasuede Studio in Cincinnati. Also back from the first album are the stunning album cover photos of world-renowned photographer Michael Wilson. Redbird Green will be released on two formats, compact disc and vinyl double album, on Saturday, June 19, 2010.