Singer/guitarist Heather McEntire says, “I feel like there’s a lot of confrontation in this record that stems from the confidence we developed doing the first one by ourselves.” That newfound clarity of purpose results in music that balances nervy beauty and resounding force, in beautifully wrought lyrics that compress condemnation and confession into subtle poetry. “Things that were almost questions before are more like answers now,” says guitarist Jenks Miller. “There was a timidity to Heather’s voice on the first record, singing in this naked way without distortion. Now, it’s commanding, which allows the arrangements to do more.”
McEntire and Miller are at the heart of Mount Moriah. Bassist Casey Toll joined the band in 2010, while James Wallace provided drums, organ, and piano on the album. Miracle Temple was recorded over five days at Beech House in Nashville and co-produced by Mark Nevers, Miller, and McEntire; mixed by Nevers; and mastered by Alex McCollough. McEntire, Miller, and Toll wrote the music, with all lyrics by McEntire except for “Union Street Bridge,” co-written with the poet Sarah Messer. Additional tracking was done by Miller, James Wallace, Jeff Crawford, Jaron Pearlman, and Daniel Hart. The expanded arrangements feature an impressive variety of guest stars. Hart provides violin, and Allyn Love plays pedal steel. Indigo Girl Amy Ray sings gospel-tinged backing vocals alongside Bibis Ellison, Ryan Gustafson, and Midtown Dickens’ Will Hackney and Catherine Edgerton.