REviews / PRESS



"Closing out the evening of music was a return of a favorite from one of earliest Acme showcases. Mountainwalker was part of a bill way back when our little venture was still really just starting to get going (read this post*), and based on that performance, and what we’ve heard from the collective since, we were super stoked to welcome them back. Mountainwalker’s sound is hard to pin down. It started off as ambient r&b, with sexy saxophone. Layered over that was frontman Aaron Berg’s spoken word style lyrical delivery, which played nicely off his more traditional backup singer. His low, monotone voice reminds me of The National’s Matt Berninger, but his cadence is more of a rap than actual singing. Heavily layered with the large ensemble cast behind him, the effect was very unique, with a chilled out lounge act appeal. The song he sang about living in Brooklyn as an underage kid, and paying money at neighborhood house parties to drink rum and cokes, also had a Kurt Vile storyteller aspect to it that was very cool. By the time they’d finished, I found myself looking up their discography, so I could get up to speed with yet another local band that is doing awesome things in new and exciting ways."


* “A quick set change would bring what is, undeniably, one of our most eclectic acts to date to the Acme stage: Mountainwalker. Straddling the lines between hip hop, jazz, alternative, and jam music, Backed by an impressive live band, the emcee mostly handled bass duties throughout, and employed the use of horns, keyboards, and more to bring to life a retro-informed, lyrically profound flavor of hip hop. Mountainwalker’s delivery, poetic style, and powerful live chops made him one seriously compelling performer. A high point came when the group invited guests to the stage to cover A Tribe Called Quest, further reinforcing their hip hop legitimacy while invoking a delighted, danceworthy response.




Critical WRITERs

“Mountainwalker is a poet and a prophet on the mic. His richly-layered lyrics will feed your mind.  Don’t sleep: Mountainwalker is making sure that Nashville stays on the hip-hop map.”

- Adam Bradley - Author of Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop and editor of The Anthology of Rap

"Speaking of genre ­fusing local rappers, outsider extraordinaire Mountainwalker is back with his first new music of the year.  

Mountainwalker continues to raise the bar with his unorthodox sound and approach. “Southern Smoke” is built on a more rock ‘n’ roll version of a melody that could easily have been the backbone of an Outkast or UGK song. On top of it, Mountainwalker spits a clever and seductive verse delivered in his one­of­a­kind flow. I could continue to break it down for you, or I could defer to Mountainwalker himself, who ends the song with this couplet:

"Johnny Cash of rap / it's simple and contagious / this is country music / this is my country's music / watch me as I use it / elegant and soothing."

- Itoro Udoko, "Nashville Cream" of The Nashville Scene

"One of the most memorable and left­field projects you’ll hear this year. American Rhapsody is an expansive record, and one that finds Mountainwalker playing guitar, bass (upright and Fender), keyboards and a host of other instruments alongside a slew of guest musicians, who contribute various other parts. The one other collaborative constant on American Rhapsody is Coach K, a DJ/producer who mans the boards throughout the record and helps strike the happy medium between live instrumentation and non­live production.

On first listen, it’s hard to know what to call American Rhapsody, or even perhaps what to make of it. Sure enough, on the album’s second track, “Into the Light,” Mountainwalker recites in his see­saw, one­of­a­kind flow, “Where I am going is not a question of wealth or accolades genre lines or geography / I follow no map, so no one can follow me.” This is pretty representative of the album’s truly one­of­a­kind scope and vision.

Mountainwalker’s stylistic web seems to be informed by numerous facets of hip­hop and folk. But because he achieves his sound without relying too deeply on the preconceived notions of either traditions, he gives American Rhapsody the reflexivity to morph along with his unique whims..."

By Itoro Udoko - Nashville Cream - Nashville Scene



"'Exiles in Paradise', the sophomore effort from Aaron Berg, may tilt twangy, but it’s not your run-of-the-mill Americana record. Buoyed by Berg’s strong poetic narrative bent, the tight interplay between his band, the Heavy Love, crucial accents (pedal steel and Dobro from Mike Bagwell, and fiddle from Califone’s Jim Becker on one track), and a welcome variety of tempo-shifts make the moody Exiles an early contender for one of the Carolinas’ finest country-rock entries of the year. The 10 tracks were recorded virtually live in a two-day session in Chicago with just a few overdubs added later.  The album  pulses with energy as a result."

- John Schacht - Shuffle Magazine - Charlotte, NC

"Folk-rap troubadour Aaron Berg kicked it up a notch with a full-band show at the Lexington Avenue Brewery on Saturday.  Berg has long been known as an introspective folk singer, but with the electric band he gets the freedom to stretch the songs a little and, ultimately, treat the listener to a different experience."

- Laura Blackley - Citizen Times - Asheville, NC

"Aaron Berg’s Exile In Paradise has been in constant rotation since it hit our stereo."

- Brett at Upstate Under Your Nose.

“One of the finest folk-rock albums ever made by an Upstate musician. Only 22 years old, Berg sounds like a sage with a deep-throated vocal style that at various turns recalls Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, or Tom Waits.  Hardly a typical singer-songwriter release Berg’s debut is full of lush musical arrangements and diverse instrumentation that make it clear Berg is a serious artist with unlimited potential."

- Dan Armonaitis - Music Writer, Spartanburg-Herald