I Am the Mountain’s forest folk turns soulful in their newest expression

Monday 05th, September 2016 / 09:43
By Andrea Hunter
I Am the Mountain’s set to give summer a proper send-off at Circle the Wagons. Photo: Mike Tan

I Am the Mountain’s set to give summer a proper send-off at Circle the Wagons.
Photo: Mike Tan

CALGARY — I Am the Mountain (IATM) is forever growing. Since their last release in June 2015 (While Off Adventuring), IATM has gained three full-time members as well as a healthy local following. Colton O’Reilly, the heart and mind behind the project, believes that in life everything is constantly growing into newer, better versions of itself. “The world isn’t stopping either, so you have to grow with it.”

As new member Jesse Aaron Shire explains it, the pursuit of living authentically is the mainstay within the supportive arts and music community in Calgary. “People talk a lot about what it is to live through your passion and I think I’m finally starting to realize what that means, embodying it, having it manifest in a certain way.”

This most recent manifestation is an evolution of their sound and style. Each musician brings their own feel and finds a fit between O’Reilly’s warm vocals.

A new track from the upcoming album, “Motorcycles,” begins with mellow chords echoing, trumpet twinkling in with a great lick before Colton’s voice slinks over it all. The tune is sultry but soft, delicate and dulcet. Jazzy drums back it all as IATM takes us on a sensual, sincere trip, complete with a tremendous trumpet solo. As the song fades, we are left with the refrain: “If you find yourself, just keep finding yourself… And your love will shine through.”

It evokes the feeling of constant metamorphosis. As Shire explains it, “We’re developing our sound, while still keeping a foot where we were. But it’s a transition, growing together, trusting each other. Hopefully people will latch onto that and appreciate that as well.”

IATM is playing alongside many other great artists at Circle the Wagons, a community-centric festival rooted in a beautiful park setting. “We’ve never really played a festival before, so we are very excited to play alongside a great cast of talent, including our idols…Our name is on the neck of a llama [referring to the event’s promo poster], and it’s beside Scenic Route to Alaska, which is our all-time favourite band. So it’s a little dreamy.”

Shire reflects on the various shows he’s played, big and small, and remarks that it’s not the quantity of crowd but the quality of their enthusiasm and engagement that really matters: “It’s more about the atmosphere we try and create, so people can get invested and sink into it. We want to create a space for whatever space people are in.”

Catch I Am The Mountain at Calgary’s own Circle the Wagons festival Sept. 10 alongside Beats Antique, Goldfish, The Velveteins, Yes We Mystic, and many more. Head to circlethewagons.ca for event and ticket info. 

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