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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
Other reviews from The Sounding Board by R J Lannan:
  Piano 3 by Andrew Shapiro, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 2/16/2017
  Longitudes & Latitudes by Lawrence Blatt, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 1/27/2017
  Orphée by Jóhann Jóhannsson, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 12/14/2016
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On Eagle Mountain
By Todd Mosby
Label: Self Released
Released 3/22/2016
On Eagle Mountain tracks
1. Spirit of the Mountain
2. Soaring
3. Eagle Mountain
4. Falling Light
5. Colorado, Missouri
6. Jack's Fork
7. Spirit Dancer
8. Ode to Joe
9. Moon Song
10. Mountain Lullaby
11. Star Song
Mohammed does go to the Mountain
Once again I note the concept of east meets west on the new release by guitarist Todd Mosby called On Eagle Mountain. There is a lot of this stuff floating around, but Mosby's command of the Imrat guitar and some dynamic compositions puts him well ahead of the crowd. The Imrat guitar is a 20 stringed hybrid of the Indian sitar and an electric guitar that sometimes sounds like a chapman stick, an atmospheric guitar and of course, an electric sitar. The theme of Mosby's eleven track album is the confluence of (perhaps) raga, jazz, folk and bluegrass traditions with organic concepts that mesh well on this ambient album of mountain appreciation. I can welcome this as I am fortunate to live in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains. The album has the mark of producer Will Ackerman and engineer/producer Tom Eaton to bolster the quality and an array of Imaginary Road Studios side persons to enhance the incredibly meditative vibe.

Todd Mosby lives in Missouri, but his talent and education are far reaching. He studied guitar, improvisation and composition at the cultural center of the universe in Boston at the Berklee College of Music and spent years under the guidance of Usdtad Imrat Khan, Brian Jones and George Harrison’s first sitar teacher.

He is a staple of the Saint Louis music scene where he is known as a premier guitarist and considered a master in the genres of classical composition, jazz improvisation, acoustic guitar and Indian raga. Todd and I share one bit of philosophy which is, if our work in some small way can influence and enhance at least one life, then our presence on earth is validated. Mosby is pretty safe. He is a wiz at meshing Indian raga and western modalities, something that is amazing since they are based on a different approach to tonality

There is a delay of maybe six or seven seconds before the first cut, Spirit of the Mountain begins and Ton Eaton's singing bowls resound. It is as if Mr. Mosby allows us a mental cleansing breath before introducing us to his evocative sitar driven melody. Many years ago I was drawn to the power of the mountains, so I know why this craggy muse was born. The majesty of lofty peaks has power that has fascinated man for millennia. Exhale. The song is given wonderful flavor, if you will by the imrat guitar's 12 sympathetic strings.

The Electronic Wind Instrument of Premik Russell Tubbs breathes life into the haunting ballad Soaring. Mosby is not even on the cut, but he allows his ensemble to create, to contribute and to rise.

One of my favorites on On Eagle Mountain is called Falling Light. We had one of those unusual days here on the mountain where it was gloomy all day until about supper time. Then the sun appeared and gilded the landscape with gold. It did not last long, but the beauty was unsurpassed. The sun quietly fell behind the mountain, but the pale light became a promise of a clear day tomorrow. Charlie Bisharat's violin compliments Noah Wilding's cooing vocal and Todd's acoustic guitar paints the picture of a sunset well treasured.

Colorado, Missouri is a mythical place, but it is cherished by a pair who have shortened the distance of the two points by linking their hearts. The unmistakable sound of Jill Haley's English horn bridges the gap between prairie and mountain while Todd’s guitar gives voice to the union of souls.

Spirit Dancer has it all including a jazzy context and with the Imrat guitar as the star. The imrat guitar is a surprising companion in the mix, giving the tune a touch of the blues. The melody is based on an adaption of an ancient raga melody and contemporary jazz; a freeform creation guaranteed to let your mind find its favorite fantasy. The song has all hands on deck including bass by Tony Levin and percussion by Jeff Haynes.

Mosby's acoustic guitar and Michael Manring's bass joins the violin to celebrate the earth’s companion silver sphere in the easy going ballad called Moon Song. You can imagine the bright, selenium light casting midnight silhouettes as the gentle night wears on. A tender voice softens the mood and the moonlight and can carry you to the moon and back.

Mosby, along with the crew ("posse") and the production staff have done everything right on this recording. Lots of different moods created by different genres that meld together very well. The mountain has spoken. All we have to do is listen.
Rating: Very Good +   Very Good +
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 7/18/2016
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