Rick Brockner: Black Mountain Brew

[19 December 2006]

By Michael Metivier

I tend to stay far away from albums that advertise CD’s by other artists under the plastic jewel-case tray, also from labels that identify themselves as promoting “Distinguished Gift Music™”.  What is that?  But the cheesiness of the marketing aside, Rick Brockner’s Black Mountain Brew is a soothing, enjoyable, if not revolutionary acoustic folk record. Mostly instrumental, with occasional vocals by violinist Cora Beth Bridges, the songs tread a fine line between traditional Appalachian structure/melody and New Age.  I mention New Age not to disparage, but to point out that tunes like “Country in the City” and “Sweet Clair” are as smooth as river-tumbled stones, the production clean, and maybe just a bit sterile. Maybe it’s the complete lack of banjos clucking around, twanging things up.  Still, Black Mountain Brew is an honest, lovely little record. And I guess it would make a fine, distinguished gift for someone this time of year too.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/rick-brockner-black-mountain-brew/