The title cut to Owen Temple's sixth studio release, Mountain Home, pretty much sets on display what's to be found throughout the disc: folk / roots music sometimes snappy, mostly laid back, but always heartfelt and singing to the common and uncommon aspects of everyday life—and to those laying just outside, including the enigmatic cipher (actually Cabeza de Vaca though the paradigm fits many) querulously sidling through Medicine Man. Temple's not much concerned with celebrity nor politics but rather the spirit of the life of the underside of the middle class where dreamers, drifters, heroes, and fuck-ups dwell. While relatively spare, there's a slow irresistible eddying effect to *Mountain Home* that subtly drags the listener to the outskirts of town.
The opening lines to Fall in Love every Night kinda collect the existential bric a brac Temple scribes to: "Boots and rhinestones / Canadian tuxedoes / Honky tonk zeros / Neon lights / Rocky Mountain beer signs / Parking lot Thunderbird wine" and the myriad gewgaws collected and stored in the escritoire drawer, always exerting their influence even when hidden away. Tommy Spurlock, who's played for Delbert McClinton and Rodney Crowell, caresss a particularly sensuous and lachrymal pedal steel, and Rick Richards' drumming is strongly reminiscent of David Kemper's work for Leo Kottke's Time Steps, but the whole band works organically, keyed in on Temple's voice and guitar, unhurried but quite knowing of the milieu the front man's shuffling through. They've been there too.
The version here of Leon Russell and Greg Dempsey's Prince of Peace removes the drunken bayou rave-up that Russell always tended towards and cleaves more closely to a fuller sense of the lyrics: the Christian version of the zen sentiment that all humans are fallen gods and goddesses, thus injure them at your karmic peril. There's a compelling Everyman aspect to Temple that digs in under the skin and grows with each listen. In a better marketplace, he'd already be well acclaimed, with plenty of air time.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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