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Blue Mountain is led by the husband and wife team of Cary Hudson and Laurie Stirratt; the roots rockers drew their name from a small town near their home base of Oxford, MS, where the bandmembers first began soaking up the country, blues, and rock influences that informed their distinctive sound. Blue Mountain was founded in 1993 by vocalist/guitarist Hudson and bassist Stirratt after their previous band, the Los Angeles-based, punk-inspired Hilltops (which also included Stirratt's twin brother, John, who would go on to join the band Wilco), dissolved following the release of a lone LP, Big Black River. Returning to Mississippi, the couple hooked up with drummer Matt Brennan and began writing and performing live. After a self-titled album -- recorded for about $1,000 -- issued on the band's own label, 4-Barrel Records, Blue Mountain was signed to indie label Roadrunner, and in 1995 released Dog Days, an album cut mostly live in the studio with new drummer Frank Coutch and producer Eric "Roscoe" Ambel. Reprising a number of songs from the first release, Dog Days ran the gamut of the group's influences, incorporating everything from country hoedowns to gentle acoustic numbers to a cover of the Skip James jam "Special Rider Blues." In 1997, Blue Mountain returned with the superb Homegrown; Tales of a Traveler followed two years later and Roots was issued in early 2001. Celebrating ten years together, the band released the live retrospective Tonight It's Now or Never in 2002.~ Jason Ankeny