PRESS AND REVIEWS
"A Wonderful Band" "How Gorgeous is that?" -Bob Harris, BBC radio 2
PRESS RELEASE – "Fields of Fescue"
It is a long time since we heard an album that was so instantly enjoyable and grew better and better with each subsequent play. How many times these days do you get your hands on something so refreshingly great that you just want it to keep playing all day long? …And all week too. We’d go as far as to say that this is the best new release we’ve heard this year – and maybe for a while longer. Another band who have been working quietly away at developing their own distinctive take on rootsy Americana that is so sophisticated in places it’s as good as anything we have ever heard. These are folks who don’t mind getting their hands dirty either, so there’s a glorious Berryville, Virginia, earthiness to much of the fare.
In vocalists Aimee Curl and Morgan Morrison, they have two gems who sparkle to give the songs a heart-lifting elevation onto a level rarely reached. They are diamonds but faceted in the old-fashioned rose-cut – not bright-cut way. These girls were meant to be paired up for the task, made to sound so natural and unforced. Curl handles the double bass so sympathetically she should be held up as a bench mark example of the craft to everyone who fancies themselves as the band’s musical backbone. Morrison plays guitar and bouzouki tenderly, to doubly underline the fact that she knows just what is required to keep things nailed to perfection.
Then there’s David Van Deventer on fiddle, coorying in so closely to the others and also playing truly majestic music, at times funky and as unbelievably adventurous and clever as you ever heard. He’s studied the instrument for twenty years and clearly understands all of its subtleties and textural possibilities. He can also jazz it up without heading for never-never land - in the same way that other greats (Casey Driessen, for instance) do.
And as if that ain’t enough, they have Danny Knicely handling mandolin chops and note-perfect runs the likes of which you'll have to search far and wide to encounter – no kidding. The guy’s amazing!
So what about the material? Well, it’s rustic fare, the songs sitting atop fabulously easy-on-the-ear arrangements and the vocals, soft, almost hushed in places, bring Be Good Tanyas (when they were at their prime) to mind, or maybe The Unthanks.The writing is so damned good it almost demands expletives to get the point across. We cannot remember a more thoroughly satisfying selection of songs and tunes.
This is a CD that will be loved and cherished by people who admire Tim O’Brien, The Waybacks, great old-time (Foghorn Stringband for instance), Natalie Merchant, Kate and Anna McGarrigle. It is honestly that broad and interesting in its appeal. The pickin’ is superlative and arrangements hugely satisfying. Fields of Fescue is destined to go down in history as a classic. Many have tried and failed; Furnace Mountain have pulled it off in spectacular style. Spread the news: It’s worth buying this album for the track "Ooh Belle" alone and that sits just very slightly above the others which will bring us comfort and joy until the end of time.
Virginia roots act Furnace Mountain have made their name at folk and bluegrass festivals across the globe but may not yet have played your home town. If you find yourself in this position, hunt down a copy of their latest album, "Fields of Fescue", post-haste. Frenzied bluegrass meets haunting Celtic melodies on an album that really struggles to merit criticism.
"Blisteringly good roots music"
C.D. Baby "Shack Album" review Category: Music Featuring the salty sweet voice of Aimee Curl, whose distinct vocal alchemy in ThaMuseMeant has hurled her name into various pockets of folk, bluegrass and roots music, Furnace Mountain is driven by David VanDeventer on the fiddle and vocals with Morgan Morrison on the vocals and bouzouki. Together, they beget an earthy and playful yet passionate hybrid of bluegrass, folk and the slightest touch of rural country songwriting. From a Dylan cover to originals, this disc lilts with an exquisitely-human spirit of poignancy and nostalgia, joy and levity. Whether these ten tracks evoke smiles or heart pangs, there is a pronounced atmosphere of heartfelt outpouring, of songwriting so sincere and musicianship so born from the marrow of their bones that there is a special magic in the silence between the notes, pushing outwards and expanding itself in every phrase. In other words, this is an album that you feel more than you hear. Any follower of bluegrass, newgrass,folkgrass or singer/songwriter forms should not miss Shack Album.
Review of "Fly the River" CD Category: Music Furnace Mountain Good Sound Magazine: review by, Shannon Holiday Furnace Mountain: Fly the River Shepherds Ford 200609Format: CD Virginia trio Furnace Mountain has released yet another A album. If you haven't yet heard this Appalachian string band, consider this your cue -- give one listen to this or any of their prior discs and hear music that sings to the soul. Drawing inspiration from Celtic, folk, and old-timey roots, the group is sure to enamor all who encounter them, and the unmatched vocal pairing of bassist Aimee Curl and bouzouki player Morgan Morrison is nothing short of spine-tingling. Trading leads and weaving harmonies, the two women captivate the ear in ways that are enchanting, mesmerizing, and downright divine. "Fiddlin'Dave" VanDeventer, as he is known, infuses the band with lively spirit, expertly guiding such purely instrumental tunes as "Duck River" and "Chinquapin Hunting." The trio is often enhanced by the addition of a bodhran (a drum of Irish origin) and the occasional inclusion of mandolin and washtub. Nearly all of the songs are traditional, but each one, from the very obscure to the somewhat familiar, has been reworked and re-envisioned as something fresh and original. If you like live music, check out Furnace Mountain each September in Berryville, Virginia, when they host the legendary Watermelon Park Festival. For more information about the band, this album, and Watermelon Park, visitwww.furnacemountain.com....Shannon Holiday
REVIEWS & COMMENTARIES FROM THE PIEDMONTREGION OF NORTH CAROLINA. Furnace Mountain, hailing from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, were the first act to taken the stage. Although only having three members in the band (Dave VanDeventer on fiddle and banjo, Morgan Morrison on bouzouki and vocals, and Aimee Curl on bass and vocals) they had a quite full sound. VanDeventer’s mastery of the fiddle was evident as he lead the band through songs as diverse as high energy instrumental jigs and Celtic-flavored interpretations of W.B. Yeat’s poetry. During the set Morrison and Curl alternated on vocals, sometimes singing entire songs by themselves, while other times simply alternating verses and joining together to sing the chorus in harmony. Although rather untamed, Curl’s voice was tough and honest, recalling sounds of Lucinda Williams or Chan Marshall’s stunning voices. Morrison’s vocals were a bit more polished. Furnace Mountain’s set was about 75 minutes and featured quite a few instrumental numbers that really showed off all the band member’s instrumental skills.
POSTED BY JIMMYRHINE "Don't think twice reviews" This group from Virginia is surprisingly unknown outside small groups of ardent lovers of bluegrass and traditional Appalachian music. It's surprising because they have the sort of talent and distinct sound that one would expect to garner national attention, if not by big labels then at least by specialized music programs like NPR's World Cafe and others. Probably the reason this band isn't more famous is that they don't pursue it. (They don't even have a page on Wikipedia, who doesn't have one of those these days?) They mostly stay in Virginia and surrounding states, playing small bluegrass festivals. I saw them at one such festival and was able to immediately like their music, something which I can't normally do. I generally have to let things sink in slowly. This is the 2nd of their 3 albums and is my favorite. Just listen to the track "Love is Pleasing" to sample the kind of spooky ,brilliant vocal harmonies this group creates. The instrumentation consists primarily of fiddle,acoustic bass and guitar. On the instrumental songs, the sound is scratchy and raucous. And on the ballads, it blend swell with the vocals and provides drifting interludes and trills. This is a great summertime album for enjoying sunny weekend days." POSTED BY DUSTY WILMES
Charles DeLint (musician, and author of over 75 published books) "And speaking of harmonies, the two female vocalists from The Furnace Mountain Band are sublime on Fly the River(Shepherd's Ford), while their fiddler has a gorgeous tone."
Rustic subjects properly dominated. Groundhogs figured in one song; corn liquor supplied the fuel for another. The liquor had evidently done its work when they embarked on a lyric of naked desire, I Want You. They told us a joke about the local road sign that said you were entering the town and also that you were leaving it. Given the remoteness of Virginia's Furnace Mountain, the frequency of songs of farewell didn't surprise. The band had two styles on offer: slow and uplifting or fast and despairing. The opening Graveyard exemplified the foot-tapping kind. Ooh Belle, a piece by Brad Barr, pinned the audience by the ears and created the biggest hush of the evening. Elsewhere, breathtaking speeds were achieved in perfect synchronicity, the horsehair flying off David Van Deventer's violin bow, Danny Knicely striking sparks on his strings. The instrumental magic was complemented by the singing of the band's girl members. Bass player Aimee Curl wove ethereal vocal lines, harmonising sweetly with guitarist Morgan Morrison. Opening soloist Raina Rose was a feisty young singer-songwriter from Oregon on her first UK tour. She launched the show with a smile in her voice and a punch to guitar licks. Peter Palmer
Rustic subjects properly dominated. Groundhogs figured in one song; corn liquor supplied the fuel for another. The liquor had evidently done its work when they embarked on a lyric of naked desire, I Want You.
They told us a joke about the local road sign that said you were entering the town and also that you were leaving it. Given the remoteness of Virginia's Furnace Mountain, the frequency of songs of farewell didn't surprise.
The band had two styles on offer: slow and uplifting or fast and despairing. The opening Graveyard exemplified the foot-tapping kind. Ooh Belle, a piece by Brad Barr, pinned the audience by the ears and created the biggest hush of the evening.
Elsewhere, breathtaking speeds were achieved in perfect synchronicity, the horsehair flying off David Van Deventer's violin bow, Danny Knicely striking sparks on his strings.
The instrumental magic was complemented by the singing of the band's girl members. Bass player Aimee Curl wove ethereal vocal lines, harmonising sweetly with guitarist Morgan Morrison.
Opening soloist Raina Rose was a feisty young singer-songwriter from Oregon on her first UK tour. She launched the show with a smile in her voice and a punch to guitar licks.