CD Review: Prozac Mountain Boys – Up On Prozac Mountain

As they like to suggest with their name, the Prozac Mtn. Boys (and girls!) are a great way to fight depression. Bringing uplifting bluegrass and folk to the Bellingham area since about 2006, they released a new album Up on Prozac Mountain on February 8. Coming in at 11 songs long, Up on Prozac Mountain is the kind of CD you can pop into your car and cruise Route 66, despite that most songs only clock in around three minutes. Authentic is the first word that comes to mind when you hear PMB play, getting it right from the orchestration to the execution. The band features common instruments like guitar, fiddle, and stand-up bass, but also folk staples like mandolin, banjo, dobro, and harmonica to round out the sound. The northwest has a great bluegrass scene with lots of talented instrumentalists, so what makes PMB really special is the vocals. In bluegrass one can get away with being a mediocre singer but that’s not the case here, every member of the band seems capable of either harmonizing in the background or singing lead. The production of the record is great and really helps give Up on Prozac Mountain a sense of professionalism unexpected from a band who likely got together to drink whiskey and talk about the good ol’ days.

The record itself consists mostly of covers with a few tasty originals thrown in to keep us swinging our partners ’round. It opens with the American traditional Crown Junction Breakdown featuring the talented Larry Sult on banjo, then the next two songs feature vocalists on both an Amy Millan song as well as on the original Big Sky (yaaay, I love originals). The cover of Mr. Spaceman from the Byrds is probably my favorite song on the record as it really showcases PMB’s greatest talent: taking rock songs and hilbilifying them. The other covers which feature said talent include Pancho and Lefty, famously preformed by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, Train Train by Blackfoot, Steel Rails performed by Alison Krauss, After Hours, the Lou Reed song which they gave a ragtime feel, and they also combined the great American classic from John Denver—Country Roads, with some original music. Also on the record is the short but sweet Prozac Mtn Breakdown, and Horse Named Picasso, both originals and both fun listens.

It really doesn’t matter whether you’re a time-hardened Virgina ex-pat or you’ve never hoedowned in your life, those boys and girls of Prozac Mountain are guaranteed to have you feeling like you’re in an back-country adventure. If you’re looking for authentic bluegrass musicians playing your favorite rock and country songs of the 70s-00s, look no further then Up on Prozac Mountain.