The first notes of JT Nero's Mountains/Forests are welcoming. The album proves quick, a stumbled upon signpost to some backyard moon and lantern lit gathering where steady snaps, crickets and slide guitar suggest you might even know these songs. Sway, sing along--either way you're invited.
In a tradition of songwriting that 'hurts so good', the record attends to sadness, but in Nero fashion you're not quite sure whether everyone's softly laughing or crying. And probably it's both. Consistent with JT's body of work and bigger band project JT & the Clouds, here the coupling is more tender, intimate, and perhaps most successful. JT is telling you secrets. The world decays. The sun, wind and trees console. Precious things break and rebuild throughout. There's a storytellers style attention to that relationship between man, weary or triumphant, and nature. But he's simply painting pictures too, or taking snapshots. A sort of Imagist, local color journey across an American landscape.
Beautiful female BGVs cradle JT's lead, flitting overhead like fireflies or the live crickets present in the flawless mix, nothing overpowering, just perfect... I've got an image of these women, in that backyard. They're touching shoulders, swaying too...the wind blows their light dresses.
On Mountains/Forests, a friend of mine has said, "...never a more perfect pairing of lyric and melody", his expression suggesting complete awe in some supernatural derivation. After you've been to this party, and sat through the dark quiet moment after when solitude becomes again real, I dare you to disagree.