The latest record from Peter Mulvey, Are You Listening? is his 17th and was produced and recorded in the home studio of Ani DiFranco in New Orleans. Mountain Stage host Larry Groce calls it an "impressionistic work of art" while introducing Mulvey's fourth appearance on the program, recorded in Morgantown, W.Va.
"This song has 16 words in it, you can count them," Mulvey says about the album's title track, with its sparsely lush arrangement and minimalist lyrics; "You got a new life / I'm Listening." He is joined by the Mountain Stage Band for most of this set, including Julie Adams on backing vocals, Ron Sowell on harmonica, Michael Lipton and Ryan Kennedy on electric guitar, Steve Hill on bass and drummer Ammed Solomon.
A native of Wisconsin, Mulvey has a direct tie to Mountain Stage's home-state of West Virginia through a recurring annual gig with the National Youth Science Camp. For the past 17 years, Mulvey has done a concert inside a cavern for the organization's STEM-focused educational camp, which draws the two top-performing students from each state for an extensive camp every summer in Davis, Pocahontas County, W.Va.
Mulvey closes his set with a performance piece adapted from a conversation he had with a Czech astrophysicist named Vlad he befriended at the National Youth Service Corps. It turned into a recitation included on Mulvey's 2014 album, Letters From a Flying Machine, but then took on a life of its own. The story became a TEDx Talk and eventually an illustrated book that is available now. It's a riveting, thought-provoking performance, with the right amount of humor, a little bit of craft-beer, and of course-some pretty heavy science.
- "The Last Song"
- "Are You Listening?"
- "You Don't Have to Tell Me"
- "What Else Was It?"
- "Vlad the Astrophysicist"