Charlie Treat – Into the Wild Mystic Mountain
At first, I thought this was going to be a hokey-pokey banjo album. But while there’s a fiery banjo here there are also the rocking propulsive vocals of Charlie Treat (vocals/rhythm guitar) that drive this machine smoking with confidence & brilliantly entertaining. Lead off song “Motor, Motor” is not your parent’s Pete Seeger tune. This kind of music would raise the eyebrows of Jerry Garcia, Jorma Kaukonen & Jack Cassady.
Coming from New England & becoming an East Nashville genre-bending songwriter Charlie Treat gravitated towards bluegrass with its raw ingredients & rootsy traditional flavors. This bluegrass is definitely treated with a 21st Century musical miracle grow.
Produced by Geoff Saunders (upright bass) the 12-cut, 37-minute CD Into the Wild Mystic Mountain (Drops Nov 18–Independent) is a wild ride. A zip-tie flight from the start. “Mama Hen,” has sparks that not only come from Treat but his band of musicians who add lots of cinders.
Recorded in Nashville, TN the songs don’t suffer from silly country-cliched lyrics – not in the least. “Bluer Than Bluegrass,” is fascinating. Deep story, colorful lyrics & a creative arrangement. This is mainstream sweet & must be released as a single. If bluegrass was never on your menu, it’s time to reconsider. This has lots of character overriding the rural allegiance. It has melody, hot instrumentation & a dash of rock n’ roll pepper that’s not noticeable but you know it’s there. I’m loving it.
The original songs by Charlie Treat are rendered wonderfully by the banjo in the nimble fingers of Frank Evans, the fiddles saw along with steam by Nate Leath & Julian Pinelli & the mandolin sparkles in the hands of Oliver Bates Craven. Kudos to everyone.
Charlie Treat’s vocals are strong, definitive & mature. A lived-in vocal range with a warm projection that reminds me of the late, wonderful Levon Helm (The Band). It’s part of the reason this works outside the range of its vintage bluegrass genre. These musicians & songs are masterful. “Squirrel Song,” is hot, hot, hot & the balladry of “Carrier Pigeon,” is melodically sweet, sung with rural perfection & support.
Highlights: “Motor, Motor,” “Swimming In November,” “Mama Hen,” the excellent “Bluer Than Bluegrass,” “Hole I’m In,” an incendiary ensemble playing on “Squirrel Song,” “Carrier Pigeon,” & great solos on “Lorraine.”
CD cover photography by Taylor Ann Bogner. CD @ http://charlietreat.com/
Find our previous coverage here: REVIEW: Charlie Treat “The Comet” is Original, Creative, Imaginative