Bloggers note: Mountain Standard Time’s Mardi Grass shows culminate in Saturday’s concert at the Fox Theatre. A limited number of the new EP “Sunny” will be available for purchase at the shows. A special thanks to Vegan Patty for this review.
By Vegan Patty
Mountain Standard Time’s new EP “Sunny” is dangerously close to being just another easy listening coffee table album of blue(s)grass. It’s more Ansel Adams then Robert Mapplethorpe. That’s not bad, mind you. (Who would ever shun Adams in good conscience?) And like him, they’ve captured a classic sound, fiddled with their filters until just the right level of light shines through, and layered their work for the discerning ear. But, these days, I keep my Adams on the shelf, preferring to offer my guests something more modern to disrupt the day. The more I listen to “Sunny,” though, the more it has me thinking that some evenings, some moments, some people aren’t served by disruption. (Mapplethorpe did nearly kill the National Endowment for the Arts.) There’s comfort in classic. And that’s what makes “Sunny” worth a listen. Or a hundred.
This collection of new tracks is tightly produced and talent heavy. While the vibe of this EP borders on being familiar to the point of boredom—and the track order is a bit awkward—it shimmies along that edge with grace and playfulness. Like so many Colorado bands that honor Jerry and crew, MST runs their guitar like a lazy river, flush with a rush of spring snow thaw, tannin-rich and ticklish. They work their organ like, well, their organ. And their harmonies and lyrical contributions are as expected.
What wasn’t expected was the jazz house piano riffs that pepper the EP and push the genre and their audience in the process. “Katy Anne” is complicated. For a moment there, I forgot myself in 1974 in the shadows of Mitchell’s folky jazz classic “Court and Spark.” Jazz isn’t always the easiest companion to Jam; their on again, off again relationship has been long and rocky. Knowing this, MST is a skilled mediator and by the middle of the EP, they have these two genres cuddling much more than cursing as they negotiate their differences. Naked. The masterpiece of the set, without doubt, is “Guitar Playin’ Man.” Placed inconspicuously on the disc as track 6 of 7, it’s the song that I’m truly Grateful for. I won’t be the only one. And then there’s the sweet finish. “Forgotten For Rotten,” a lengthy rock operatic anthem, pulls this collection through jam-jazz and stitches it up precisely into the techno-colored ski jacket that is Prog. Rock. As a collection, “Sunny” feels like a best of. Better yet, Mountain Standard Time is kindly offering up some of their finest tracks to listeners as “pay what you want” downloads from their website. Trust me. You want.