Arts & Context: Mountain Man
Arts & Context
Mountain Man with Nathaniel Russell
Members of the acclaimed indie-folk trio Mountain Man (Amelia Meath, Molly Sarle, and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig) sit down with music journalist Grayson Haver Currin for a conversation about their decade-long collaboration, solo careers, and latest adventure, Cosmic Prom: a three-night residency at The Fruit in downtown Durham. Cosmic Prom, a collaboration with visual artist Nathaniel Russell, unfolded over three distinctly themed nights at The Fruit: Beneath the Stars, Under the Canopy, and Below the Sea. Mountain Man will be joined in conversation by visual artist and Cosmic Prom collaborator Nathaniel Russell.
“Mountain Man did not intend to disappear for the better part of a decade, or to take eight years to release its second album, Magic Ship. But for a trio of devoted friends for whom music has always seemed so effortless and graceful, that’s simply how life went. The wondrous Magic Ship—a magnetic fourteen-song reflection on the joys, follies, and oddities of existence—was well worth the wait. These songs distill eight years of experience between Made the Harbor and now—of sights seen, pleasures had, feelings hurt, forgiveness extended. These tunes are wise and tender, open and honest. Magic Ship conveys absolute warmth—like a snowbound afternoon spent indoors, passing a bottle of brown liquor between friends while putting old favorites on the turntable, or a long summer evening spent lounging beneath a shade tree, swapping stories and sharing laughs until the sun has vanished. At a moment when the way forward for the world seems uncertain to the point of unraveling, when it feels that decades of impetuous decisions are catching up to the society we’ve created, Magic Ship offers a necessary sort of return and reassurance, a promise that goodness and truth remain available in our least-mitigated forms of expression. A weekend morning spent with a lover in bed, an innocent memory of pure childhood delight, a threadbare shirt from your parents: These are the experiences that Magic Ship so candidly shares, the moments of splendor that make the struggles worth it.” —Grayson Currin
Nathaniel Russell was born and raised in Indiana. After college, Russell spent several years in the San Francisco Bay Area making posters, record covers, and woodcuts. He returned to his home city of Indianapolis and now spends his time creating drawings, fake fliers, bad sculptures, wood shapes, and music. Russell’s work is regularly shown around the world in both traditional galleries and informal spaces, usually surrounded by an expanding list of friends, collaborators, and like-minded folk. He frequently returns to his second home of California to work with friends on projects as varied as murals, print workshops, and backyard musical performances.
Grayson Haver Currin is a freelance journalist and editor. He is a contributor at Pitchfork, and his work has also appeared in The New York Times, NPR, Spin, and Rolling Stone. For a dozen years, he was the music editor of INDY Week. He once ran a music festival and a record label, but now he just runs marathons.
Free and open to the public. Light lunch provided by Pie Pushers. Arts & Context is co-sponsored by the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University, The Pinhook, and Pie Pushers.