On the classic 1995 album Dog Days, the Oxford, Mississippi, trio Blue Mountain distilled the supremely unalienated bliss of rivers, back roads, mountain girls, cheap weed and pitch-perfect blues and country-based Southern rock. The band also intimated the risks of a rural, carpe diem ethos. On Midnight in Mississippi, Blue Mountain's first album since its 2002 split, the utopian themes and sounds return, drenched in '60s soul melodies, sliding and stinging guitars, unerring backbeats, and the sweet, instantly recognizable harmonies of ex-spouses Cary Hudson and Laurie Stirratt. Like Tupelo Honey-era Van Morrison, Hudson and his band remain unrepentant romantics, buoyed by the joy of rock 'n' soul, and willing to take the risk of surrendering to — and celebrating — life's simplest pleasures.
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