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Sarah Harmer, I’m a Mountain

Before Sarah Harmer exploded into radio consciousness with her appealing brand of acoustic rock; she released her low-key 1999 debut entitled Songs for Clem. Clem was a set of country standards that she recorded for her father’s birthday, and it clearly demonstrated her love for roots music, though she hasn’t really returned to this forum since. Fast forward six years and Harmer has released two successful albums with 2000’s You Were Here and 2004’s All Our Names, which were both focused on creating strong, rock radio songs. But finally, I’m a Mountain sees her returning with a glowing collection of acoustic arrangements that vary from scorching bluegrass numbers, campfire sing-alongs, and tender folk ballads. By thinning out any signs of percussion and electric guitar, Mountain showcases Harmer’s incredible voice, which soars and dips with emotion and grace — especially on the title track, a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Will He Be Waiting For Me,” and the stirring “The Phoenix.” My personal favourite is “Salamandre,” which has Harmer manipulating her voice reminiscent of a French cabaret singer, backed by a mandolin, clarinet and accordion. It should be interesting to see what Harmer does on her next album because the progressive I’m a Mountain is going to be hard to top. (Cold Snap Records/Universal Music)

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