It really is a sin that Mike Gordon doesn’t sing more in Phish, because the man has a great voice—certainly a smoother and more melodic set of pipes than Trey Anastasio, arguably speaking. And nothing personifies that more than his solo material, both on his own and alongside folk guitar guru Leo Kottke, a catalog many believe to the best of any member of Vermont’s Phinest beyond the scope of the band, a trend that continues with Gordon’s third proper set under his own name.
Moss, much like the damp-loving plant life it is named after, is a grower. Culled partly from the 50-song burst of creativity that spawned 2008’s stellar The Green Sparrow, the ten-song collection finds Mike continuing to move further from the experimental nature of his Ropeadope debut, 2003’s Inside In, and closer to the style of such poppier Phish fare as Billy Breathes and Farmhouse, a trait that can easily be heard on the trance dance-inducing “Fire on a Stick” and the opening track “Can’t Stand Still,” featuring current Mike Gordon Band member Todd Isler—just one of several guests who appear on this record (the list also includes Page McConnell, Jon Fishman, Marco Benevento, Joe Russo, Upstate, New York-based percussionist Ken Lovelett and drummer Doug Belote). The highlight of Moss, however, is a four-song suite comprised of “Flashback,” “The Void,” “Got Away” and “Spiral,” that takes Gordon’s music into a realm of cosmic psychedelia that sounds like nothing he’s ever done before and like the album as a whole perfectly showcases his massive skills as a bass player, songwriter and singer to boot.