After dropping into apparent obscurity this year, and announcing the departure of founding member Jim VanCleve and bass player Jason Moore, Mountain Heart has indicated today that they are back with a renewed focus, and a new album in 2015. Van Cleve is returning on fiddle and Jeff Partin will take on the bass role, and assist Josh Shilling with vocals.
Not returning will be banjo player, vocalist and fellow founding member Barry Abernathy, who wants to stay off the road and be with his family. He has sold his share of the business to a new company formed by the current band mates, called Mountain Heart Entertainment. Barry is remaining open to doing some special guest sets with the guys from time to time.
Aaron Ramsey will also be back on mandolin, and Seth Taylor on guitar. All five are working in the studio now for an album of all new material for next year.
The band is now constituted as an equal partnership among the five members, and all the guys are excited about what they have in store.
VanCleve says all the bumps are smoothed out and they are ready to go.
“We are already on fire about the new music we’re creating and the new show we’re putting together. Having what I consider a dream team of youthful musicians, partnered and motivated to grow together is overwhelmingly exciting for us all and a once in a lifetime situation. Get ready, we are all going to have a blast!”
Mountain Heart was launched in 1999 in a mass exodus from Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. That group contained Steve Gulley on guitar, Abernathy on banjo, VanCleve on fiddle, Johnny Dowdle on bass, and Adam Steffey on mandolin – though Steffey left the group prior to their first album release, only to return a short while later.
Since those early days, the band has drifted steadily from a traditional bluegrass outfit to one of the most daring and experimental string bands in the world, incorporating bluegrass, country, and rock elements into their basic bluegrass format.
Current lead vocalist Shilling hopes that their many fans will stick around for a newly-reformed, high energy show.
“We ask for your continued support and we look forward to offering everything we can every show to the people who make this all possible – the fans, promoters, radio stations, business partners, our family and friends … YOU!”
2015 tour information will be posted online shortly.