For his latest solo album, Buck Meek, lead guitarist of Big Thief, went back to Texas – to the border town of Tornillo 560 miles from his hometown of Wimberley – to record Haunted Mountain. The band – Buck (guitar, vocals), Adam Brisbin (guitar), Austin Vaughn (drums), Ken Woodward (bass), Mat Davidson (pedal steel, vocals), and Dylan Meek (keys) – recorded the eleven songs that make up Haunted Mountain over the course of two weeks at Sonic Ranch studio. The album was produced by Davidson and engineered and mixed by Adrian Olsen. The album follows Meek’s 2018 self-titled debut and 2021’s Two Saviors, with records as a part of Big Thief in-between – U.F.O.F. and Two Hands (2019), and Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You (2022).
Haunted Mountain is about love and… something other. Something bigger than love, a soulfulness, or a soul seeking fullness. In the songs, (with five co-written alongside longtime friend and musical hero Jolie Holland (‘Haunted Mountain’, ‘Paradise’, ‘Where You’re Coming From’, ‘Lagrimas’, & ‘Lullabies’) and one (‘The Rainbow’) set to the words of Judee Sill’s final journal entry, written 3 weeks before she passed) love often assumes a natural form, sometimes it becomes artificial, sometimes cosmic. It is a consciousness here, interacting with the lovers, watching them sometimes, becoming them sometimes. Romance is not the only form of love Haunted Mountain explores; The epic ‘Lullabies’ examines the inexhaustible connection between mother and son; a platonic bond appears in ‘Where you’re coming from’; and grief leads to communion with the dead in ‘Lagrimas’.
The songs were written in mountains; by cold springs in the Serra da Estrela of Portugal, on the submerged volcano of Milos in the Cyclades, Valle Onsernone in the Swiss Alps (where the cover photo was taken), and the Santa Monica range where Buck now calls home – all where his new love was born. “Love inhabits your environment, animates the inanimate, charging everything around you with a sense of meaning,” Meek says. Haunted Mountain asks – is love a form of magic?