Charlie Treat/Into the Wild Mystic Mountain/Independent
3.5 Out of Five Stars
Charlie Treat’s music reflects his rural background growing up on a farm in New England listening to traditional tunes by the original artists themselves. Inspired by such classic tunesmiths as Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams Sr, Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, and lover and colleague Sierra Ferrell—as well as time spent performing alongside Ferrell — he’s fashioned an album with a title that reflects that fondness for those traditional trappings. With its sturdy arrangements underscored by acoustic guitars, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and upright bass, it’s the kind of sound that might be found on the back porch of a cabin perched high in the hills or a communal campfire where like-minded players can be found sharing familiar favorites.
Not surprisingly then, the songs on Into the Wild Mystic Mountain were captured in a single take, which is, not surprisingly, indicative of the energy and intent. There’s a rustic feel to several of the songs—“Swimming In November,” “Sing Child Sing” and the tellingly titled “Bluer Than Bluegrass” in particular—but there’s also so a general feeling of exuberance that permeates the proceedings overall. Treat tempers his songs with a personal perspective, emitting a combination of shared nostalgia and affectionate observation. He’s also adept at executing a driving delivery, and it’s the upbeat entries such as “Mama Hen,” “Hole I’m In” and “Lorraine” that give the album its distinct dynamic. That’s equally obvious when he opts to digress, whether it’s through the wistful reflection of “Carrier Pigeon,” or the jaunty disposition evidenced in “Don’t Tell Me That You Love Me.”
Ultimately, Into the Wild Mystic Mountain is an album that Treat can hang his proverbial hat on, one that’s both distinct and dynamic, It’s also an indication that after only two albums, Treat is an artist to be reckoned with. As a result, it will certainly be interesting to hear what he comes up with next. For the time being, however, Into the Wild Mystic Mountain is every bit a most satisfying sojourn.