Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
A mountain is universally not measured to the same scale on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean; the definition of such is awkward, the symbolism perhaps uncomfortable, one person’s mountain is another’s hill and yet both require the mind and the body to imagine conquering the heights and laying down the flag on the very pinnacle of expression and heartfelt scales of demonstration.
It is the act of conquering that sees Sally Barker and Vicki Genfan take the beautiful and alluring mist coming off the Appalachians, the sense of the peaks of Britain, and combining the imagery and the sensual nature of two seemingly different ways of looking at life and conjuring up the majestic In The Shadow Of A Small Mountain between them.
Friendship can conquer mountains just as high as those found on either side of the watery basin that hugs both country’s coast lines, and it is in friendship, peace and mutual music appreciation that the two musicians fill the air circling at a few thousand feet and make the woods and the trees sing to the deaf rocks, which shudder and vibrate in the moment of release.
The American south and the British soil may not have as much in common physically or in the range of its terrain; the mountains that stretch from Alabama and through Kentucky, Virginia, New Jersey and on to Newfoundland are often more tantalising a prospect of beauty than our own vision so close to home and yet Ms. Barker provides such a sense of being with her American cohort that the view from both sides of the music should be considered breath taking.
In tracks such as Feels Like Flying, the intimate and heartfelt nostalgia in Little Red Box, Something Blue, the amazing narrative that weaves like a dusty trail through forests and the past that sits in the song Moonshine and Weekday Heartbreak, the two women cast a spell over the feeling of the natural and sensational; if the mountain won’t come to us then musicians must go to the mountain and give thanks to what inspiration strikes. It is an inspiration that comes when you see the hill or the mountain in all its glory rising from the Earth.
In The Shadow Of A Small Mountain is a reminder that at times we may feel small and insignificant but with help we can conquer anything put before us.
Ian D. Hall