Fiercely contemporary yet rich with classic influences, Mount Moriah’s Miracle Temple sports bigger arrangements, louder guitars, bolder vocals, and more soulful rhythms than their acclaimed self-titled debut. Through their artful personal storytelling, the band develops a piercing portrait of a “New South” where progressive traditions are still fitfully breaking free from conservative ones. Mount Moriah’s cathartic vision for their home and themselves is writ large in their lovingly critical negotiation with romantic, political, and gender identities; geographical perspective; confrontation and forgiveness. The drive for change, resolute but tinged with regret, is arrestingly captured in the cover image of a burning barn.
At the heart of Mount Moriah are singer/guitarist Heather McEntire and guitarist Jenks Miller. Bassist Casey Toll joined the band in 2010 while James Wallace provided drums, organ, and piano on the album. Miracle Temple was recorded over five days at Beech House in Nashville and co-produced by Mark Nevers, Miller, and McEntire; mixed by Nevers; and mastered by Alex McCollough. McEntire, Miller, and Toll wrote the music, with all lyrics by McEntire except for “Union Street Bridge,” co-written with the poet Sarah Messer. Additional tracking was done by Miller, James Wallace, Jeff Crawford, Jaron Pearlman, and Daniel Hart. The expanded arrangements feature an impressive variety of guest stars. Hart provides violin, and Allyn Love plays pedal steel. Indigo Girl Amy Ray sings gospel-tinged backing vocals alongside Bibis Ellison, Ryan Gustafson, and Midtown Dickens’ Will Hackney and Catherine Edgerton.