Dave and Tara Talk about Genre, Style and Musical Influences
Describe MountainCity’s music.
(Denver, CO) Describe MountainCity’s music. Go ahead. Try. (LISTEN HERE)
People who enjoy Dave’s Colorado country guitar riffs on songs like the MountainCity original, “Since You’ve Come Around,” or their cover version of Keith Urban’s, “Somebody Like You,” might describe them as a modern country band. There is no denying the country influence in some of their songs. Take, for example, this original lyric, penned by Dave himself:
“I fell for you, baby, I’m still down for the count.” –Ours is My Favorite
People who enjoy Tara’s bright vocals on “Oh Darling,” or the warmth and joy of the fresh “Oh-oh-oh-oh-ohs” on “This is Love” might say, “MountainCity is indie-pop, of course.” Or maybe they’d call them modern-folk.
And each of these categorizations would be right. At least partly.
MountainCity’s music taps into a wide spectrum of musical styles. From its fresh folk-pop originals, the undisputed nod to American country, its retro, blue-eyed soul vibe, to the unexpected electronic influence, MountainCity’s music is diverse and colorful. Dave and Tara’s vibrant timbre and harmonious melodies reflect the committed, transparent love between this singing-songwriting, married duo. The confluence of their sound is a backdrop for the stories they tell through their lyric-rich love songs.
But are they pop? Folk? Country?
Wikipedia, the “largest free source of information in the world” lists nearly 800 definable genres of music, and more than 1200 styles. If a genre is a term describing broad categories of music sharing traditional similarities, and if musical style pertains to specific characteristics of an artist within their genre – well, any direction you cut it, that’s a lot of possible options for describing a band’s music.
If you take a quick sampling of MountainCity’s songs, (LISTEN HERE), you’ll hear love songs in an engaging variety of styles. But MountainCity is a young band, still “becoming.” So we decided to just ask Dave and Tara to describe MountainCity in their own words.
I know you’ve been advised to “pick a genre” and stick to it. What are your thoughts about settling into one definitive genre, at least for the moment?
“We’ve been noticing that people’s music-listening habits today are about creating diverse and colorful playlists. People are making playlists in their personal music libraries or on streaming platforms. We decided that, in order to be honest to the art that is inside of us, we don’t want to produce just one specific genre of music. Instead, our musical vision is to create diverse and colorful love song playlists full of various melodies, harmonies, soundscapes and textures.
The broad musical preferences Tara and I bring help us write original songs and choose covers that are everything from singer/songwriter to folk to pop to EDM to country to blue-eyed soul, to R&B and back.
The words ‘diverse, colorful and playlist’ seem to hit home with me about our music at the moment.”
Who are the artists who have most influenced the MountainCity sound? Do you have bands and artists who still inspire you?
“Artists who have influenced me, and sometimes both of us, in no particular order, include Keith Urban, Norah Jones, Jason Mraz, Ingrid Michaelson, Etta James, Fred Hammond, Brad Paisley, The Civil Wars, David Wilcox, Ella Fitzgerald, Al Green, Imogen Heap, Johnny Cash, U2, Jonathan David and Melissa Helser, Adele, Trace Bundy, JohnnySwim, Frank Sinatra, Steffany Gretzinger, The Album Leaf, Colbie Caillat, Phil Wickham, Eric Clapton, Amy Grant, Lonestar, Louis Armstrong, Joey & Rory, Bing Crosby, Celine Dion, Brooke Fraser, Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors, Delirious?, Kirk Franklin, Mumford & Sons, Mindy Smith, Hillsong, JJ Heller, Tommy Emmanuel, Lincoln Brewster, and John Mayer. There are probably more.”
“Recently, Dave and I went on a date night and he found this playlist on Spotify. It was called something like, “Late Night Love Songs.” It had music from the 70s, 80s and 90s, but it was all love songs. Oh, it was awesome! I seriously knew every song – I knew the words to every single song!”
“I think Tara went 50 or 60 songs in a row and knew them all.”
“I wanted to see if they could stump me. I finally got stumped right as we were pulling in the driveway at the end of the night. It was a Sting song.”
Dave quickly points out that it was a “very obscure” Sting song.
“Anyway – part of the reason we chose to do only love songs is because of how I was raised. There was a lot of singing in our house and my parents were always singing love songs to each other, doing karaoke or lip-syncing.
I grew up with so much great music. I was raised on lots of Motown. And, we are talking, the Carpenters, Chicago, the Eagles. We listened to Rod Stewart and Michael Bolton, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. There was Starship, Little River Band, Carole King, Bread, Michael Jackson and on and on. I grew up listening to some of the greatest singers and they were all singing love songs!”
Despite the many possible genres and musical styles, one thing all of your songs do have in common is that they are love songs. You only sing about love. Why is that?
“I didn’t know, growing up listening to the music I did, that I’d someday be writing and singing love songs, too. But it did have an impact on what I’m doing now.”
“We believe that love is the best concept to champion!”
“Dave and I decided that we only wanted to sing and promote songs about love. That was a very specific decision for us. Because – if we can do anything we want with music, then we want our music to be about love. We’re not going to sing break-up songs. You can find plenty of break-up songs from other artists.
We want our music to refresh and restore people and create peace.
We’re writing songs based on our long relationship. These are stories of love with our children, our parents, our grandparents, and our families and friends. All of our songs are going to be about love and promoting the beauty of love.”
Maybe MountainCity’s genre is simply love songs, just love. And the style? It will be as diverse as the musical influences Dave and Tara enjoy, mixed with the love they share, the stories they tell, and the musicians who play with them. If this is the case, there’ll be a lot of great music coming from MountainCity for a long time to come.
Dave would like to thank his sponsor DG Custom Cables
“My friend, Dustin Guthrie, owns this Colorado Springs-based company, DG Custom Cables, and he’s a total shredder/entrepreneur! I am really thankful to be a part of the DG Custom Cables Family of Artists!
Dustin’s goal is to make affordable custom cables with a lifetime warranty, and he’s done it. All of my ¼” cables and XLR cables are made by DG Custom Cables, and I’m STOKED about the clarity of sound that my guitars and mic’s produce because of them! DG Custom Cables are made in the U.S.A., which I like very much!!
Check them out! You’ll probably find and release your inner-hairy-mountain-man… and believe me, you’ll want to do that!” www.dgcustomcables.com