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Thursday, September 22

Bob Weir's Blue Mountain is as perfect as an album dares to be.It's brilliant on many levels and a marvel to behold.

Bob Weir's Blue Mountain is as perfect has an album dares to be. Brilliant on many levels and a marvel to behold. 

Blue Mountain is nothing short of a masterpiece. It manages to transport the listener to a place when smoking cigarettes was cool and songs actually told stories. At the same time, it serves as a bookend to Bob Weir’s storied career. Many worlds have come and gone since Weir released “Ace” in 1972 and this haunting album embraces those years instead of hiding them. His mentor/brother Jerry had a fondness for the old Appalachian murder ballads and English and Irish folk songs that were turned into bluegrass tunes. Bob, from the time in his teenage years when he ran away to be a cowboy, always had an itchin' for the country/western tunes. It's obvious why it was nicknamed ”the cowboy album”, shit before Garth Brooks, this would be considered a country album. I think it's more of a "Western album". Every song takes place in a wild open land where the Marlboro man still rides and you have to get the cows to the drover before the day ends. For each song Bob morphs his voice into whatever the song needs. From the scratchy, road-weary cowboy to the sweet, Gram Parsons-esque sweet and tender lover, he slides into each song effortlessly. The musicians behind him keeps pace and supports every piece of the map he visits. Whether it's Wyoming or Montana or Heaven, Bob has one more river to cross and the band is right there with him. The final song "One More River to Cross" sounds like an elegy but I think we have more to hear from Bob. Whatever genre the media paints “Blue Mountain” into,  Bob Weir and Josh Ritter wrote twelve songs that will live on forever in the same vein as any of the previous Grateful Dead material. 
       Josh Kaufman produced “Blue Mountain” and the stripped down format balanced with the subtle effects he graces Bob's voice with serves these tunes best. Bobby’s aged voice mixed with the sophisticated lyrics literally brought a tear to my eye and made my heart ache as he sings about life, love and death. In “Whatever happened to Rosie”, Bobby paints a picture of a love lost like only he can with lyrics that every man can identify with, as we all have had a “Rosie”. I would break the songs down but there is not a filler song on “Blue Mountain” and I would bet a few amazing tracks did not make the final cut. Every song not only is worth your time but is an instant classic. “One More River To Cross” is the final tune and a consummate way to end this profound record. The whole album deals with heavy topics but hearing Bobby singing about his mortality openly and beautifully makes one pause and wonder if this is his last studio album. I hope it is not, but it would serve as a golden bookend to a magical career and many of the songs are written in this fashion. This is his first album made up of all new material in over thirty years and it was worth the wait. It's not often we get timeless albums in this musical climate. But “Blue Mountain” is a marvel to behold and like a good bottle of Pinot Noir it will only get better with age. 
    Weir had an all star band in the studio backing him including such talent as Joe Russo, Steve Kimock, Jon Shaw and Ray Rizzo. The Brooklyn pop-trio band,  The Bandana Splits provide dazzling back up vocals that add depth on many tracks.” Blue Mountain” will be released September 30th and can be pre ordered in both CD and Download formats. A vinyl package will be offfered shortly. An album this good comes along about every thirty years it's just not usually the same artist. 4.5 out of 5
Kevin Long
Greg Heffelfinger

Blue Mountain Tracklist
1. Only A River
2. Cottonwood Lullaby
3. Gonesville
4. Lay My Lily Down
5. Gallop On The Run
6. Whatever Happened To Rose
7. Ghost Town
8. Darkest Hour
9. Ki-Yi Bossie
10. Storm Country
11. Blue Mountain
12. One More River To Cross