“Molly lives her songs. Every word, every note is absolutely felt!” Jane Yolen, bestselling author and creative partner in Away with the Faeries.
“Mist Covered Mountains are a trio of masterful Celtic roots musicians based out of New England. Their album, This Distant Shore, is a delight from start to finish, the kind of album that reveals new sides to the group with each spin. Anchored by the amazing vocals of Molly Hebert-Wilson, mom and fiddler Donna Hébert uplifts Molly’s songs with the lightest and most subtle of touches on her fiddling and string arrangements, while guitarist and vocalist Max Cohen brings his own songs, including a new take on the classic song The Parting Glass. But what sticks with me the most are Molly Hebert-Wilson’s stunning vocals. It’s not often you hear a voice this powerful debut in the world of Celtic song.” Hearth Music (8/20/13)
“Locals will recall that Molly had an amazing voice when she was a tween; as a mature young woman, there’s added depth, luster and sparkle. Especially noteworthy is “Katie Cruel,” in which Molly’s voice punches through a muscular arrangement in which Max Cohen channels Bert Jansch and Donna Hébert’s fiddle sizzles. Even better is Molly’s gorgeous and sensitive cover or Richard Berman’s “The Gfts.” Max leads on three tracks, including the hilarious hidden track, “Hamster Heaven.” Make sure you don’t remove the CD until that one plays!” Rob Weir, Valley Advocate (10/31/13)
Listen on . . .
Chicago IL – WFMT 98.7 – Rich Warren – Midnight Special – Sat 9pm
Albany NY – WAMC 90.3 – Wanda Fisher – Hudson River Sampler – Sat 8-10 pm
Greenfield MA – WRSI 93.9 The River – Louise Dunphy – Celtic Crossings – Sun 7am
Boston MA – WUMB 91.9 – Dave Palmater – The Morning Show – M-F 6-10am
Provincetown MA – WOMR 92.1 – Bob Weiser – Mon, 9:30-12:30pm
Philadelphia PA – WXPN 88.5 – Ian Zolitor – The Folk Show – Sun 9-11pm
1. Katie Cruel – Max’s hypnotic guitar groove gives this ballad a new life. The intro is the ‘B’ part of a tasty tune called Indian Point Jig from fiddler Rick Mohr. An American folk song from Revolutionary times, the ballad traces back to the Scots song Licht Bob’s Lassie (who is, indeed, what you think she is). I learned it from Peggy Seeger and Molly and I sang it on car trips. The woeful refrain is a mouthful: “Oh that I was where I would be, then wouldn’t be where I am now. Here am I where I must be. Go where I would I cannot.”
2. Caidé sin don té sin – Molly learned this in Irish Folk Group at NYU, where she earned a minor in Irish Studies and studied Irish language with Donegal native-speaker Pádraig Ó Cearúill. She spent a summer at Trinity College in Dublin and in the Gaeltacht. Pádraig teaches his students to speak by teaching them songs – what could be better? This song is the Irish-language equivalent of “Mind Your Own Business”.
3. The Wedding Dance © Max Cohen & Richard Berman – Max sings this poignant song of letting go. Richard Berman wrote words to Max’s beautiful melody Martha’s Vineyard and their joint effort won Kerrville songwriting finalist honors. If there’s a perfect father-daughter wedding dance, this is it!
4. The Gifts © Richard Berman – A song love and regret that Max taught to Molly while she was still in her teens. Another from Pioneer Valley songwriter Richard Berman, this gave Max the line This Distant Shore for the CD title. Molly took both ‘distant shore’ cover photos in Donegal. In 2013, she introduced this one to Archie Fisher when they shared an Old Songs workshop stage. He has since recorded it on his new CD, A Silent Song.
5. Fear an Bhata – This song, whose title means “The Boatman,” originated in Scots Gaelic and is attributed to Sìne NicFhionnlaigh (Jean Finlayson) in the late 19th century. The lyrics tell of a true love waiting for her boatman’s return. The writer is said to have married her boatman not long after the song was written, so it worked! The song migrated to Ireland. Molly learned this setting from NYU Irish language prof Pádraig Ó Cearúil, a Donegal native. (See #3, Caidé Sin)
6. The Witch of the Westmerlands © Archie Fisher – This ballad delves into the English Lake District’s legends of shapeshifting water witches, half woman, half horse. Archie is a master storyteller: “Wet rose she from the lake, and fast and fleet went she, one half the form of a maiden fair with a jet black mare’s body.” Molly learned all nineteen verses on road trips in the days before cell phones or iPods . . .
7. The Parting Glass (new verse © Max Cohen, Cosmic Squirl Music, BMI) – The classic Irish wake song has been beautifully updated by Max, who deepens the song’s meaning with a new last verse and a few other new lines. The only a-capella song on the CD, this one features Max’s heartbreak baritone and we get to back him up.
8. Let Them In, Peter © Elma Dean & John Gorka – Molly sings this gem of a lullaby for the fallen soldiers and Max’s gentle guitar does it justice. The poem, Letter to St. Peter, was written in World War II by Elma Dean. John Gorka set it to music in the 80s (full story at johngorka.com/forum/). I too, wish them to wake whole again.
Music samples ©, ℗ 2013 Donna Hébert, Molly Hebert-Wilson, Max Cohen. All rights reserved.