Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
What you really want to do - after listening to their debut full-length record "Made The Harbor" -- is to pull Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath, of the Bennington, Vermont, trio Mountain Man off to the side and ask them if you might be able to take a quick, closer look. You would ask them all to step forward and say, "Ahhhh," as if you were a dental hygienist, someone with a professional degree in the field, hanging directly behind your desk. You'd take out a flashlight, clicked it to the on position and shine it into their mouths, down those short throats and into the pits of the bellies, looking to get a better idea of all that they might have growing out of there. You expect to find, there in the darkness, all kinds of things that are never naturally found inside the bodies of human beings. These three beautiful and unassuming young women have forests growing inside of them and when they're quiet, when they're calm, it's because they're trying not to wake the owls and the squirrels that are napping in the trees that rise parallel to their lungs and perpendicular to their intestines and stomach. They have gardens - in the acreage range of all that Central Park or Acadia National Forest can account for - spreading out a lush floor inside them, rich greenery that any warm-blooded person would fetishize lying down upon and never waking up. You look into their throats, see their teeth and their tonsils and you're bored, but never for long, as everything else comes into focus and you see a wild pasture of the most majestic horses, swishing their tails while downing bluegrass. There are waterfalls and other wonders, forming their walls and contours and it's plain to see that these aren't just any other singers and not just any other songwriters. These aren't just any other girls. Mountain Man complete their natural surroundings, as if they might have wandered into the scene and noticed that there were some incomplete renderings - some flowers not yet filled in, some tree bark and foliage not yet colored completely. So, their form a little triangle, open their mouths and connect it all together, sending a balm over the woods, like a mother humming a nursery rhyme into the ears of her crying child, suddenly turning everything around and making the house silent again. The song "Mouthwings" features the opening lines, "The way one feels could be likened to an opening, or a slamming or a breathing heart, all of them, all of them have seen inside my mouth, have grown and flown south," and it's exactly where we get to with every one of their songs - some place of gliding, some place outdoors, in the night, with a glow of campfire casting its orange warmth on everything in sight.