Mountain Man / The Blind Nils @ Off Broadway, St. Louis

Pictures and words by Duane Clawson
In the middle of July in St. Louis, you’re always looking for a place to cool off.  Tonight, the good folks at Off Broadway provided the cool air and cool music.  Local musicians Jerry Baugher, Cassie Morgan, and Adam Hajari form a musical union they call The Blind Nils who specialize in alternative, country, and folk.  Cassie switches between an assortment instruments while onstage.   Adam’s steady rhythm guitar and occasional banjo provide a perfect backdrop for Jerry’s lap steel guitar.  This band projects the vibe of a more upbeat version Iron and Wine.  I will let you be the judge of this band by providing a link to a performance in the studios of KWUR .  After hearing what this band is capable of I believe you’ll come to the same conclusion I did, these guys are really good.

Before Mountain Man took the stage, I noticed the floor of Off Broadway began to resemble a piano bar.  Audience members were sitting on the floor in anticipation of a relaxed set from Mountain Man.  Forming this trio of harmonies from Vermont are Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and Amelia Randall Meath.  Mountain Man reminds us that what’s old can be new again, taking a page of musical history from the 1940’s and 50’s.  Mountain Man could be the present day version of the Andrews Sisters.   The ladies occasionally pass around an acoustic guitar, but their main focus is harmony.  Almost every song starts off with one of the ladies finding the perfect pitch for smooth delivery.   This is the same formula that got Pitchfork’s attention in 2009.  The ladies were very casual and their sound flows with minimal effort.  Several times throughout their set the ladies included the audience.   First, everyone sang happy birthday to Alexandra as she blew out the candle on a cake her father had delivered to Off Broadway.  The ladies also encouraged the audience to provide jungle animal noises in lieu of clapping.  During the one of the two encore songs, the ladies divided the audience into three parts, letting the audience provide the three part harmony.   The ladies also did something that was quite cool, letting the audience pick the last song of the night.  At first there was a call for “I’ll Fly Away”, to which the ladies laughed at.  After a few other requests the ladies eventually found their pitch and launched into “I’ll Fly Away.”  By the end of their excellent rendition of this classic, Mountain Man had an additional 200 voices.  A fitting end to an awesome night of music at its purest.  For more on Mountain Man visit their Bandcamp.  As always I would like to thank the crew of Off Broadway for their hospitality.  I would also like to thank Mountain Man’s management for allowing me to cover the group.  Pictures of the show are below:

The Blind Nils
 Mountain Man
Contributed by Duane Clawson
Mountain Man / The Blind Nils @ Off Broadway, St. Louis Mountain Man / The Blind Nils @ Off Broadway, St. Louis Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on August 10, 2011 Rating: 5
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