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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
Todd Mosby - On Eagle Mountain
Todd Mosby's On Eagle Mountain is notable for two reasons (besides the fact of how good an album it is, obviously). One is the presence of Mosby's "imrat guitar" on selected tracks. The instrument has a discernible Indian (i.e. sitar-like) sound to it. The other noteworthy issue is that, despite the album being recorded at Imaginary Road Studios and produced by Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton, there is a fair amount of ambient/textural synth work (by Eaton himself). While synths are not verboten at IR, their presence is a rare event. However, it's not like the synth pads steer the end result into EM territory, but it is unusual to see them listed on seven of the album's eleven tracks. All that said, Eaton's synthesizer embellishments stand in service of the main draw, which is Mosby's artistry on both the Eastern-sounding imrat guitar and “regular” acoustic guitar. The relative newcomer crafts melodies which reflect both a subtle world music influence as well as a melodic sensibility which mirrors the many fine recordings which have poured forth from Imaginary Road Studios since its inception.

You will undoubtedly hear the Indian influence on the opening "Spirit Of The Mountain," with its accompanying bells, singing bowls, and other additions played by Eaton. That carries over to the next track, the one-minute long "Soaring," which, curiously enough, doesn't even feature Mosby, comprised only of Premik Russel Tubbs' EWI and Eaton's pads and textures. Track 3, "Eagle Mountain," (which flows uninterrupted from the previous song) sees Mosby switching to traditional acoustic guitar, but the music still features a certain "world beat" element, not as overt but there nonetheless. It can also be stated that the song contains plenty of that “certain something” which differentiates albums recorded under the guidance of the Ackerman/Eaton production team at Imaginary Road Studios from many other quality releases. I have previously postulated that Imaginary Road produced/engineered recordings are, essentially, the re-emergence of the ground-breaking Windham Hill record label which Ackerman founded, and On Eagle Mountain exemplifies this. There is an eclectic aspect to Todd Mosby's music. It is not just the components, e.g. the presence of imrat guitar, the synth pads provided by Eaton, or the many additional touches courtesy of the "usual suspects" from Imaginary Road Studios (Bisharat, Friesen, Haley, Haynes, Tubbs, et al.). More so it is the heart of On Eagle Mountain which presents, for lack of a better definable term, a uniquely American approach to instrumental music. I realize that in today's highly-charged political arena the use of this classification is less than desirable, but it stands all the same. Todd Mosby embodies that special quality that Will Ackerman unearthed four (!!!) decades ago, an approach to instrumental music that embraces multiple influences yet is unified by a specific vision which crosses barriers and genre-lines with effortless grace.

Todd Mosby is a relative newcomer to the instrumental scene (at least from my perspective) and yet his music features uncommon maturity, a sensation of having "arrived" that seems in contrast to any newbie classification. While some of this may be attributed to Ackerman and Eaton and the various accompanying artists, at the core of it is Mosby who displays a knack for crafting guitar music which manages to be special yet also approachable and accessible so that listening to On Eagle Mountain (despite its more exotic musical aspects) is like putting on your favorite pair of well-worn jeans. That is a special talent and one which should lead him to a successful recording career.
- reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 3/23/2017
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