Mountain High

When Canadian singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer went into Toronto's Reaction Studio in July 2005 to record "I'm a Mountain," her first album in two years, she knew exactly what she wanted.

When Canadian singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer went into Toronto's Reaction Studio in July 2005 to record "I'm a Mountain," her first album in two years, she knew exactly what she wanted. The project was recorded, mixed and mastered within a week. The brevity was in part due to the fact that Harmer and her band were coming off a tour where they had already worked up much of the material.

"There's nothing like confidence when you [are] in the studio," Harmer says of the set, due this week in the U.S. via Zoe/Rounder. "We were feeling really good."

The genesis of the album took shape last summer when the 35-year-old artist hiked and performed in southern Ontario with concert proceeds benefiting an advocacy group trying to preserve the Niagara Escarpment that winds through the region.

"I'm a Mountain" is centered on Harmer's observations on nature, relationships and humanity. Whereas "Escarpment Blues" and "Salamandre" (written by friends Kate Fenner and Chris Brown) are specifically connected to Harmer's environmental advocacy, "Luther's Got the Blues" is a wry character sketch and "Goin' Out" was written for an AIDS vigil. There is also a fine cover of Dolly Parton's "Will He Be Waiting for Me?"