The MOUNTAIN GOATS – ” The Jordan Lake Sessions: Volumes 1 and 2 “

Posted: February 23, 2021 in Classic Albums, MUSIC
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John Darnielle has written almost 600 songs now, and some of them are very sad, dealing with hard drugs and tragic ends, hurting yourself and others, sicknesses of both body and brain, off-brand alcohols. They are told in beautiful, unnerving, specific detail because he is a very good writer, and also some of them are just true stories about his own life.

The Mountain Goats released this live collection, The Jordan Lake Sessions: Volumes 1 And 2, on Bandcamp today via Merge Records. The recordings come from a pair of virtual concerts the band conducted at Manifold Recording in Pittsboro, North Carolina in August of last year.

The Jordan Lake Sessions: Volumes 1 And 2 follow The Mountain Goats’ 2020 studio release, “Getting Into Knives”, which arrived in October. The new live collection — featuring John Darnielle (vocals, guitar, piano), Peter Hughes (bass), Matt Douglas (keyboards, guitar, saxophone, piano) and Jon Wurster (drums) — contains 36 carrer-spanning songs the band recorded over the course of two virtual concerts on NoonChorus, which became one of the livestream platform’s highest-attended online concerts to date.

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Mountain Goats mastermind John Darnielle detailed

Like a lot of bands, we thought, we have to figure out some way to play together, it is unnatural for us to not be playing together, it feels weird and wrong, and it also feels weird and wrong to not be playing for the people who dig what we do, that is a huge part of who we are, it’s a circuit, you know, an energy transfer, it’s the coolest thing and we’re lucky to have it and then the pandemic came in to remind us just how lucky. And also there’s the I-try-not-to-be-talking-about-this-stuff issue of how playing live is our paycheck, it is how we make ends meet, it’s the gig. So we booked a studio that had cameras, and I put together a couple of set lists, and we played two shows in two days and then we put the shows up on sale; and the Mountain Goats Massive showed up, in truly humbling numbers, and the whole groove felt really emotional for us—and, it seemed to me, for the audience, too. There is an immense loss for me in this time away from the stages and rooms which are, in many ways for us, home. I miss the people who bring our music to life, so much.

And so a lot of people, like a lot, in the chat during the show, and in various @’s across social media, said, Hey buddy, what if there were a live release of some kind, I’d buy that, and I thought, well, cool, I’ll look into it; and we did indeed do that, and here it is, but I wanted to make it “pay what you like” on release day: because you people who already paid to see these shows, you are the people who literally put food in our children’s mouths this year. If you feel like you’re done paying for these shows, then we are cool with that, zero pressure. But!! if you’re in good shape, and your own job has figured out a way to let you report to the workplace in 2020, and you’re in a position to pay for these shows, then we are deeply grateful, it has been pretty harrowing to be banned from all clubs for a whole year. The news on the wire however is that a vaccine is coming which will unban us from clubs around the world, and, friends, when that viral ban is lifted, please know that there will be few places to hide from the Mountain Goats. We will rock them in the steel towns, and in the coastal towns, too; and on the cities of the plains, and in the oases of the desert, lo, we shall rock them, and then rock them even harder, at serious Deep Purple levels of rocking, the head-nodding, hair-flying style, at which many will say, I have been rocked, and indeed I wondered if my time of rocking were past, but it has returned this day with gale force. May that day speed hither with all due haste! Finally, if you are a reclusive Howard Hughes type reading these words, and thinking, What if “pay what you like” means I just throw an absurd amount of money at the Mountain Goats, well, friend, we’re glad to meet you. Please be assured that your gesture will be met by JD with similarly absurd gestures, as for example fulfilling his dream of commissioning a translation of the book Elfriede Jelinek got the Nobel for, but which still hasn’t been published in English twenty years later, for crying out loud.

Anyway that’s the news! Here’s two shows! We’re proud of them! If you wanna pay us for ’em, we won’t complain! We will see you next year!

Released December 4th, 2020

John Darnielle – vocals, guitar, piano
Peter Hughes – bass
Matt Douglas – keyboards, guitar, saxophone, piano
Jon Wurster – drums

Recorded live in studio at Manifold Recording in Pittsboro, NC, on August 8th & 9th, 2020

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