I'm a Mountain
The album gets underway with "The Ring," a country-tinged folk song about feeling stronger with another person's support. "I got up in the ring/Because I had you there/In my corner," she sings over the bouncy interplay of acoustic and electric guitar parts.
In addition to "The Ring," "I am Aglow" and "I'm a Mountain" are quite rootsy originals inspired by country and bluegrass songs that Harmer feels sound more inspired by the sheer joy of playing rather than other less-pure motives.
"Escarpment Blues" is a song very close to Harmer's heart, a song about current land-use conflicts on the Niagara Escarpment, a critical piece of the southern Ontario ecosystem that Harmer feels very passionately about. But her concern over nature is not always at the macro level; "Oleander" is a lament directed at a houseplant. "Oleander, Oleander, will you bloom again this spring?" she asks. "I adored you/Then I ignored you."
Her songs have a directness that gives them immediacy. "Goin' Out" is a midtempo waltz written as a message of inspration and hope for an AIDS vigil Harmer attended. Over a gentle banjo, her chorus is ever-so-slightly anthemic with a hint of gospel to reflect a metaphysical theme.
In addition to Harmer's originals, she also effectively takes on Dolly Parton's "Will He Be Waiting For Me," and a song from her old Weeping Tile bandmate Luther Wright called "Luther's Got the Blues."
Harmer has always had a splendid voice, but she shows new depth as a singer with a children's song sung in French, "Salamadre." Singing in deeper tones than normal over a lilting mandolin, she sounds perfectly comfortable as a worldly chanteuse.
I'm a Mountain is another great showcase her her warm voice and deft touch with songwriting, and its pastoral delights are rich and inviting.