Scud Mountain Boys

Scud Mountain Boys

Scud Mountain Boys

Do You Love the Sun

Ashmont Records

They were originally known as the Scuds and played loud rock and roll, but they found that after a show they all enjoyed sitting around Bruce Tull’s kitchen table and playing country tunes. So, they added “Mountain Boys” to the name, started bringing a table to gigs, and playing sitting down, and the rest, as they say, is history. From 1995 to 1997, they released three albums, ending with the legendary Massachusetts. Joe Pernice, the group’s leader, went on to form the popish The Pernice Brothers, and while still creating compelling music, they weren’t the Scud Mountain Boys.

Fans of the seminal country band were delighted to see news of the band’s reformation and hints of a new album. Do You Love the Sun finds the original lineup back together, and the result is nothing less than spectacular, albeit in their own, low-key way. The band’s sound is born of classic country — pedal steel and mandolins abound — with Pernice and Stephen Desaulniers trading vocal duties. When the title cut opens the album, you’re transported back to the ’90s, with Pernice’s emotional voice blending in Beach Boys level harmonies. The entire record is a near perfect blend of mid-’70s country and ’60s pop, never rushing, never shouting, but with moments of extreme beauty, sly wordplay, and a clearly evident love of the country/old time traditions. “Orphan Girl” by Desaulniers wouldn’t sound out of place on a New Lost City Ramblers album of murder ballads, and the band’s version of “Theme from Midnight Cowboy” captures the restless longing of John Berry’s original, while tossing in a few moments of The Band’s “Theme From The Last Waltz” along the way.

In an age that has seen nearly every band from the last 30 years reform, often to less than stellar results, the Scud Mountain Boys have only added to their legacy with Do You Love the Sun. Early versions of the record come with a bonus CD of three unreleased songs from the Massachusetts sessions, and they sound perfectly in sync with the new record, showing that whatever magic existed around that kitchen table has only grown in intervening years. Welcome back, Scud Mountain Boys.

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