Mount Moriah’s How To Dance is the third album from the North Carolina trio composed of Jenks Miller, Casey Toll, and frontwoman Heather McEntire. It’s a deeply affecting record driven by McEntire’s silvery folk songwriting, and one that kicked off with a manifesto dedicating the album to loners, outcasts, misfits, underdogs, and the artists and activists who fight for them:
McEntire is a queer woman herself who grew up mired in southern culture’s fairly unaccepting culture and came out later in life. “How To Dance” is a slow-burning ballad with a blistering core, a question as contract between speaker and listener. For the album’s title track, McEntire explained that she was particularly struck by the experience of a transgender child, and penned the song from the perspective of a kid facing bullying and contemplating suicide. However, as she sees it, the ethos of the track can be applied to any disenfranchised group.
Here’s her statement on the track:
Never has a song come so easily to me, with such power, inspiring the inner sleeve manifesto and becoming the album’s title track. “How to Dance” was written from the perspective of a transgender child being bullied into suicide, although the narrative can apply to any disenfranchised, oppressed group — racial minorities, cultural misfits, etc. For those people living outside the lines of socio-normative privilege, acknowledging and expressing simple emotions — like dance, dreams, desire — can be difficult or even dangerous. Now, with the passing of North Carolina’s despicable and discriminating HB2 bill, this narrative resonates further. What would happen if we weren’t caged by fear or judgement? I know I would have started living sooner.