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February 1

“Mountain Music”: A Meld of Southern Rock and Bluegrass Genres

“Mountain Music” is a song that Randy Owen penned for the American country music band Alabama. Released by RCA in January 1982, it was the lead-off single and title track to Alabama’s Mountain Music album.

In several reviews, many country music writers have described “Mountain Music” as “a modern country classic”. It is a meld of Southern rock and bluegrass genres having classic-rock guitar riffs, country harmonies, and fiddle-fueled breakdowns combinations.

Years before Randy Owen’s band become the most successful 1980’s country group, he spent his childhood days on Lookout Mountain. Here his family ran a small cotton farm. Owens had this hope to put his childhood memories into a song, and that he did.

It took him to write “Mountain Music” three years. He wrote his experiences in river-swimming, tree-climbing, raft-building, and so on.

Among all Alabama tracks, “Mountain Music” is the only one that has prominent vocals from Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook. Somewhere in the third verse, lead singer Owen trades off lead vocals with his bandmates.

Single and album edits

For the retail sale and radio airplay release, they removed the following parts from the “Mountain Music” album version:

  1. The introduction, wherein an old mountain philosopher speaks about someday climbing a mountain. Apart from that, you hear a harmonica solo at the very beginning.
  2. A series of guitar riffs slowly builds in tempo from slow to very fast. We can find this between the third refrain and the fast-tempo fiddle-heavy musical bridge before the finalé.

Released in January 1982, “Mountain Music” became Alabama’s sixth chart-topper on Billboard magazine’s Hot Country Singles chart. In the same week, the Academy of Country Music named the group the Top Vocal Group and Entertainer of the Year.

Up until now, “Mountain Music” remains one of Alabama’s most popular songs.  Not many artists write like this kind of music anymore, it truly is a classic and a one in a million song.


Tags

Alabama, mountain music


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