Sweetheart Mountain
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Sweetheart Mountain

Band Americana Bluegrass


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Sweetheart Mountain is the acoustic duo of Sean MacDonald and Arlene DeMaris. Sean does most of the singing, all of the guitar-playing and the bulk of our hauling and setup. Arlene plays fiddle, sings harmony, dances around a little and watches Sean hook up all the cables. We started playing music together in a band called Railroad Dawgs, cranking out bluegrass and jam band tunes throughout the Farmington Valley and points beyond for a year or so, then launching our own project in the spring of 2005. As a duo, we still play bluegrass and a fair amount of Grateful Dead, but we’ve added old-time, blues, Celtic and country to the mix.

What cuts across all our tunes is a certain intensity of emotion. We play the music we like and try to say something to our audience with it. Traditional music and the best of its offspring have a way of touching people. Old-time, the precursor of bluegrass, has a haunting, melancholy quality that lets us tap into sadness and longing and turn them into something beautiful. Same thing with the blues, just with sex added. And country music, stripped of the sequins and big hair, gives us great songs and storytelling with the added bonus of making people laugh. Celtic music? Well, Irish music makes us all want to get drunk, dance and fall down, and Scottish tunes make us want to go beat the stuffing out of the English. Either way, we get all that bad juju out of our systems.

And that’s what it’s about. Music, like any art, is about making sense out of life. We leave our baggage at the door and go sing about someone else’s baggage. In doing so, we lighten our own load and hopefully the hearts of those who listen.