Furnace Mountain are a four piece bluegrass band from northwestern Virginia. Dave van Deventer on fiddle and vocals, Danny Knicely on fiddle, mandolin and vocals, Aimee Curl on bass and vocals and Morgan Morrison on bouzouki and vocals bring a modern twist to some old songs and tunes while providing plenty of their own.
Comprising two married couples – “Just like ABBA” jokes Knicely – the band exhibit a kind of musical telepathy, tossing licks around between Dave’s fiddle and Danny’s mandolin while Morgan’s bouzouki and Aimee’s upright bass provide a solid rhythmic backing. Furnace Mountain are not just about dazzling instrumentals though; both Morgan and Aimee have fine voices. In particular, Aimee’s voice has a gentle, breathy quality that is positively alluring – don’t tell her husband I said that though. Dave and Danny are no slouches either and when the four all sing together the harmonies are something special.
Tonight the band are featuring songs from their new album Shadow Of Plenty along with songs from previous albums The Road To Berryville and Fields Of Fescue, and some traditional material. Songs like Barney and Virginia Girls/Sandy Boys, don’t go out of their way to portray men in a particularly favourable light. “We don’t really hate men” Morgan notes, “blame these old songs.” The Crow On The Cradle is paired with the instrumental The Road To Berryville in which I thought I may have detected a hint of John Coltrane’s Afro Blue along with a snatch of My Favourite Things, but maybe I imagined it.
The highlight of the evening for me was a cover of The Barr Brothers’ Ooh Belle that knocked spots off the original but really every song and tune was a winner. If you like a bit of Bluegrass, keep an eye out for Furnace Mountain.