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Mountain Man Announces 'Magic Ship,' Its First Album In Eight Years

Mountain Man returns with <em>Magic Ship</em> on Sept. 21.
Shervin Lainez
Courtesy of the artist
Mountain Man returns with Magic Ship on Sept. 21.

Back in 2010 and 2011, the vocal trio Mountain Man became a festival favorite on the strength of its members' rich, reverent vocal harmonies and considerable charisma. (Here's a priceless two-minute refresher, in case you've forgotten.) Then, the group seemed to evaporate, as its members headed in different directions — both literally and figuratively.

Molly Sarlé moved to California and did some solo shows. Alexandra Sauser-Monnig relocated to Minnesota and then North Carolina before releasing a lovely solo record under her own name this year. And, of course, Amelia Meath paired up with Nick Sanborn to form the electro-pop juggernaut Sylvan Esso. But over time, all three wound up back in one place; though Mountain Man formed in Vermont, all three members now live in North Carolina, which made a reunion that much easier to pull off.

Not too long after playing together at last year's Eaux Claires music festival, Mountain Man gathered to record its first album in eight years. Magic Ship, which comes out Sept. 21, has 11 original songs and three covers: the traditional "Bright Morning Stars," Michael Hurley's "Blue Mountain" and Ted Lucas' "Baby Where You Are." Three of the originals — "Window," "Rang Tang Ring Toon" and "Stella" — are already available, and can be heard on this page.

Given Mountain Man's sparse and unadorned vocal arrangements, it's no surprise that Magic Ship picks up more or less right where 2010's Made the Harbor left off — namely, in a timeless space where three voices are all you need to be transported someplace wonderful.

Magic Ship comes out Sept. 21 via Nonesuch. Track list below:

1. Window
2. AGT
3. Baby Where You Are
4. Rang Tang Ring Toon
5. Stella
6. Blue Mountain
7. Moon
8. Boat
9. Whale Song
10. Fish
11. Underwear
12. Slow Wakeup Sunday Morning
13. Bright Morning Stars
14. Guilt

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Stephen Thompson
Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)