Fire Mountain – All Dies Down
“‘All Dies Down’. . . is one not to be quickly shelved.” -Holly EtchisonHolly Etchison
out of 10
All Dies Down
May 20, 2014
This is American Music
Growing up in Georgia just across the river from Alabama, I heard your fair share of regional jokes and felt the general prejudice state lines can create, especially, for some reason, in the South. Duct tape for instance was called Alabama chrome. Weren’t they the first to secede from the union? The last to rejoin? Didn’t Neil Young lament their backward ways in a song? Didn’t Lynyrd Skynyrd strike back in a most uncouth way? Whatever the case, while on the topic of songs and singing them, some folks in Alabama know what they’re doing: Hank Williams, the father of us all, yep, straight from Alabama. Emmylou Harris, songbird extraordinaire — her too. And now a band called Fire Mountain hailing from Alabama the beautiful seems to be following suit with their first full length album, All Dies Down.
With straightforward songs holding just enough symbolism and pathos, Perry Brown and company (Adam Vinson on percussion, Walter Black on bass guitar, Ryan Richburg on electric guitar, and Bryan Segraves on the keys) plow through a folk rock repertoire reinvented with slight power pop excursions and Brown’s likeable twang. The sounds are tight with enough verve to hold your attention throughout.
The jaunty “Be Your Eyes” is relatable and friendly with it’s repeated refrain “please don’t let this pain be your eyes” and its foot tapping beat. With light hearted keyboard and convincing vocals, it rolls through a “Carolina hillside” and “county lines” into being a success as the album opener.
In one ear catching moment, the guitar lines in the barroom rocker “Factory Line” somehow alternate between Dylan’s “Neighborhood Bully” and “Hazy Shade of Winter” by the Bangles. This would be remarkable enough if it weren’t the segue for the next song “At the Seams,” a stunning ballad. The building guitar and keyboard interlude are lovable for any melancholy soul out there. It satisfies the heart with lines like “I’ve been hidden further out of sight . . . letting you take all the light”; a total winner.
Clever lines accompanied by Steve Winwood piano sounds litter “Doing Fine”: “It’s hard to hold your hand with these shaking hands that’s why I drop it all the time. Baby no one’s doing fine.” “I’ve Been Wrong” is a gentle pleasantry, recalling in its build up the nineties goodness of Buffalo Tom’s “Late at Night.” “Wired and Dying” is a fun departure with an early Rem, jangly punk presence.
The album’s ender “Moving Target” brings us back to Neil Young with some Crazy Horse guitar moments and sage wording: “Just because it’s burning doesn’t mean it’s shining bright.” The lights might have gone out in Georgia; with these boys from Alabama they’re dimmed just enough for an interesting passage. All Dies Down, full of musical substance and reflections on life’s sometimes slow fade, is one not to be quickly shelved.-Holly Etchison, June 2, 2014