It's often a phenomenon of the bluegrass circuit that bands are a fluid collection of players and that the personality of the group drives the music. Mountain Heart was originally formed in the late '90s by members of Doyle Lawson's back-up band, Quicksilver. The group picked up the IMBA Award for Emerging Artist almost immediately and it was on its way, but not before a few changes to the line-up. When Mountain Heart performed during Bluegrass Night at the Kent State Folk Festival, the band was only a few months into its relationship with new guitar player/singer Clay Hess and mandolin master Adam Steffey was nearly at the end of his tenure (he was soon to join Dan Tyminski in a new project). Bass player Jason Moore was not original to Mountain Heart. In November 2007, only Barry Abernathy on banjo and Jim Van Cleve on fiddle were there at the very beginning.
And it doesn't matter. Because this Mountain Heart still drives the music home with speed, power and virtuosity that brought the nearly full house to its feet repeatedly during the the concert. Hess, coming over from the Rock side of town, brings a new diversity to the sound while the band veterans lay down wicked licks. One of the stand-out evenings of the 41st KSFF, the performance was a thrilling ride on the bluegrass express.
This concert was recorded live at the Kent Stage in Kent, Ohio during the 41st Kent State Folk Festival in November 2007 by contributing producer Cousin Jimmie Wilson.