It was raining the day we met up with John Darnielle and The Mountain Goats at Portland's Aladdin Theater. It was the kind of soaked, gray day typical of December in the Pacific Northwest, but for Darnielle, it was also a reminder of the dark time he spent living here years ago. "By noon, I was 18 years old again and mad as hell," he said.
No stranger to making records out of a common thread, Darnielle once again turned to a theme for his 14th Mountain Goats record, released late last year. Transcendental Youth finds him visiting a cast of characters on society's fringes — addicts, criminals and the mentally unstable all figure into songs that radiate compassion. Several tracks from Transcendental Youth are buoyed by the presence of horn arrangements courtesy of Matthew E. White; horns even figure into our session, which includes the fan favorite "This Year" from 2005's The Sunset Tree.
- John Darnielle, vocals and guitar
- Peter Hughes, bass and backing vocals
- Jon Wurster, drums
- Reggie Chapman, trombone
- John Lilley, saxophone
- Bob Miller, trumpet
- Audio: Steven Kray
- Video: Nate Sjol
- Photos: Inger Klekacz