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***When the Mountain Goats got together in March 2020, it was to make not one album, but two. The idea was to again work with Matt Ross-Spang, the dashing Memphis wunderkind. Matt pitched we spend a week at Sam Phillips Recording, his home base in Memphis, followed by another at the storied FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, a plan that dovetailed nicely with John’s notion of corralling these songs into two complementary batches: one light, one dark. The Memphis album—Getting Into Knives, would be brighter, bolder, marked by rich and vibrant hues; the Muscle Shoals album—Dark in Here, is quieter, smokier, but more deeply textured and intense. We were all aware of the mythos surrounding FAME. The second you step inside you transport to its early ’60s heyday and its louche mid-’70s denouement. The room we set up in is the room where Percy Sledge sang “When a Man Loves a Woman” and where Aretha Franklin recorded “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You).” The Wurlitzer with which Spooner Oldham opens the last? It’s sitting right there. Spooner is living musical history, having played with everyone from Bob Dylan and Neil Young to Linda Ronstadt and Liberace, for crying out loud. And Spooner is all over Dark in Here—any time you hear a bit of Hammond organ or electric piano chiming in without repeating a phrase. Along with Oldham, Dark in Here features additional guest contributions from Susan Marshall (of Amy Grant) and Will McFarlane (of Bonnie Raitt).