MEET ME ON THE MOUNTAIN is the latest link in a chain of inspiration that began with Annie Proulx’s brilliant short story "Brokeback Mountain." Adapted by Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry into an Oscar-winning screenplay, the story was brought to the screen by director Ang Lee and into the hearts of millions through the deeply affecting performances he coaxed from the film’s stellar cast – most notably Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, and Anne Hathaway.
Says songwriter Shawn Kirchner: “'Brokeback Mountain' made a huge impact on me, both personally and artistically. I’ve heard many people say they felt similarly to me: for days afterward I couldn’t shake the feeling the film left me with. I felt like I wanted to respond, but out of respect, I didn’t want to touch it – since the film was such a complete expression in itself. So I started writing lyrics to Gustavo Santaolalla’s beautiful main theme of the soundtrack.
“A wise friend said ‘You know, you’re going to have to write your own music.’ So, impulsively I wrote the phrase ‘meet me on the mountain’ at the top of the lyrics page I was working on. The next day, I set that paper on the piano, and before I knew it, I had the chorus. The verses came soon after. On a road trip a few days later, I found all kinds of ideas for other ‘Brokeback’ songs coming to me – I’d drive and sing to myself until I had enough to write down. Then I’d stop at a rest area, get it down on paper, and keep driving. After several months of intense work and inspiration, most of the songs for the album were complete. Ironically, one of the last songs I wrote was ‘Last Stand,’ which uses the ideas from the very first lyrics I was going to set to Santaolalla’s theme.”
The songs – a mix of bluegrass, country, and folk – are performed by some of LA's top players: George Doering on guitar, Gabe Witcher on violin (who also performed on the film's soundtrack), the legendary Tommy Morgan on harmonica, and Dave Stone on bass, with Kirchner on piano. The album also features mandolinist Jacob Henry Jolliff, one of bluegrass music's most talented young players. An array of versatile LA singers gives voice to the songs. Ryan Harrison lends his flawless vocalism to the male leads, while Alice Murray’s warm depth and Karen Harper’s tender poignancy bring the female leads to life. Bobbi Page, Janelle Flory Schrock, Dick Wells, and Shawn Kirchner provide backing vocals.
MEET ME ON THE MOUNTAIN was produced by Michael Geiger and Shawn Kirchner, recorded and mixed by Adam Olmsted (Sonora Recorders, Citrus Studios, and Glenwood Place Studios), and mastered by Doug Sax, with Sangwook “Sunny” Nam, at the Mastering Labs (Ojai, CA).
MEET ME ON THE MOUNTAIN is Shawn Kirchner’s “break-out” project as a songwriter, although he has been writing and performing folk and gospel songs for years. He is otherwise occupied with a successful career as a choral composer/arranger and a singer/pianist in the classical music circles of Los Angeles. Since this project, he has been busily writing songs, including a set of soon-to-be-recorded jazz tunes.
For more information, visit ShawnKirchner.com or MeetMeOnTheMountain.com