I appreciate honestly and accuracy in promotion, so I’d like to celebrate the simple guarantee offered by the trio Mountain Man in announcing new covers of John Denver songs. On their Facebook page, after pointing out they’d gone the extra mile by having Alexandra Sauser-Monnig procure a surprisingly fetching version of Denver’s distinctive haircut, Mountain Man wrote of the tracks, “They are so sooooothing, we promise.” No description I could cobble together can make the truth of that.
For smaller acts, cover of well known songs — whether delivered lovingly or with bratty irony — have long been a way to nab attention, but Mountain Man’s take on “Take Me Home, Country Roads” is no cynical knock off. Instead, it does exactly what a good cover should do, especially when its of material that is so familiar that’s it’s grown mundane and almost invisible: it reveals the inherent strength of the song so clearly and forcefully that it’s truly like hearing it anew. In its care and intimacy — and, yes, sooooothing quality — this version of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” reasserts the humble beauty of the original songwriting. The Mountain Man track is splendid and revelatory.