Growing up, Martha Scanlan says she equated music with “belonging and family and home.” The Montana-based folk singer-songwriter has woven those elements into her fourth album, The River and the Light, but, for Scanlan, home doesn’t exactly signify hearthfire. There’s a wilderness brooding about the album, as she moves throughout the landscapes that shaped her. She’s found her place in the natural world as much as those vistas have found their place in her.
Longtime friend and creative partner Jon Neufeld produced The River and the Light, continuing a collaboration that spans back to her 2011 album, Tongue River Stories. The two blended an array of brooding and beautiful timbres — with fiddle and accordion from Dirk Powell — that speak to those natural landscapes: The expansive skies and pressing quiet of Montana (“Only a River/True Eyed Angel”), the weathered mountainscapes and ancient tones of Appalachia (“West Virginia Rain”), and even, at times, the lush forestry and friendship she’s found in Oregon, where they recorded the LP.
Read the full article at The Bluegrass Situation.