Meadow Mountain perhaps first turned the head of Infamous Stringduster Chris Pandolfi upon winning the 2017 RockyGrass band contest in Lyons, Colorado. Almost immediately thereafter, the five-piece string band signed to the Stringdusters’ Tape Time, which is releasing their self-titled debut album come 2 November. While Meadow Mountain might best be recognized as a bluegrass outfit, the band’s Summers Baker (guitar), Jack Dunlevie (mandolin), Ian Parker (violin/ viola), George Guthrie (banjo), and Wilson Luallen (bass) are not ones to shy away from pushing past their traditional stylings to craft something innovative and hard-to-define, either. As much is exhibited through the release of their latest single, “Radio Waves”, which Meadow Mountain is premiering via PopMatters.
Understated production meets a melange of offbeat choices in the song’s driving arrangement that may just cut it as one of the most progressive instances of newgrass in recent times. Featuring a 9/8 rhythm, “Radio Waves” may be difficult to define betwixt its bevy of genre influences, but easy to get into with its idiosyncratic groove.
Baker tells PopMatters, “I wrote this song over a period of six to eight months. It started with a musical idea that I couldn’t get out of my head – a driving, yet subdued picking pattern in an unusual time signature. I spent months getting it under my fingers before I even started writing the words. From there, I kept hitting roadblocks. I felt that I had struck something worth pursuing, so I decided to go about it patiently. Instead of writing lyrics every day, I stepped back and wrote “around” the song. I wrote poems, short stories, and even other songs as I fleshed it out. Months of scrapping lyrics, singing along to a metronome, and writing landed me with a narrower, more focused vision. In the end, thousands of words all condensed into four lines that I felt best portray what it means to me to be isolated, quiet, and dark.”
Pandolfi says, ‘”Radio Waves’ is a unique and beautiful song that showcases Meadow Mountain’s wide-ranging songwriting chops. While many will consider these guys primarily a bluegrass band, they know how to take the tones and styles of the bluegrass instruments out of context to create something very original. This song may be hard to categorize, but it should catch a lot of people’s attention.”