Pretty Little Feat – The Mountain Runners

Pretty Little Feet’s The Mountain Runners is the complimentary soundtrack for a documentary film of the same name. Pretty Little Feet’s affection towards traditional American music, namely that of the Appalachian modal, is strongly on display with this soundtrack. Once again, Ziffle and Novak stand out as accomplished musicians, providing a comfortable and sometimes haunting set of Appalachianesque inspired quilt, lending the soundtrack a consistent mid to fast paced, frolicking rhythmic set, a perfect foil for their quirky banjo melodics, accompanied with fiddle, light acoustic guitar, mandolin, and button accordion.

Produced to provide a sort of musical narrative to the film, The Mountain Runners documents the 1911-1913 settlement of Whatcom County, and the first Mount Baker Marathon, a race by auto or train from Bellingham to the Mount Baker base, then by foot to its summit, and back again. The resulting musical diagram perhaps is designed to trace those types of charts put up on museum walls in order to trace where an important event or life may have played out. Nonetheless, on its own it is an adventure of an album, and perhaps in this mode as a soundtrack provides voice to long forgotten people from different places, and different encounters, all brought together by this race to settle.

As ever though, it is Ziffle and Novak’s utter mastery of their genre of choice that animates this album of extraordinary flat-picking and finger-picking virtuosity, its clean precision and earthy melodics will catch the ear. All the spark and animation provided by these instruments are backed by an interestingly mournful dusty blue-collar lyrical style, providing a reminder of a rough dynamic Whatcom County that was, and as yet, does not feel that distant.

Wander Records