Pennsylvania’s Mason Porter is on a serious roll. In recent months, they’ve released a single based on the Edgar Allen Poe story The Tell Tale Heart, had a small batch craft beer named after them, and now have partnered with the National Park Service’s Centennial celebration to release a new EP, Heart Of the Mountains. While many sponsorships can be blatant advertisements, the way Mason Porter has taken the very essence of embracing nature and infused it into their songwriting and playing is both impressive and heartwarming. It’s hard to find a more universally agreed upon subject than the protection and importance of our many unspoiled parks and preserves, and the merging of that thought with the mountain music made by Mason Porter is inspired.Opening with the title track, Mason Porter kicks off the nature themed collection of tunes with a very visceral lyrical look at the enveloping sense of being far from civilization, lost in nature’s splendor. The driving mandolin, fiddle and drums give the song a galloping nature that invokes the gleeful spirit of running free. “See America,” the second track, talks of second chances and the boundless hope that is the American Dream. “Box Of Answers” features a meditative, lilting examination of choices, mistakes and the inability of modern distractions to fill the emotional needs that we all possess. To find life’s riddles, we fire have to put more thought into asking the right question. A much needed reminder that was very well put.Mason Porter takes this nature themed opportunity to deliver a spellbinding take on the old-as-the-hills song “Shenandoah.” It’s been adapted and reworked many times throughout its hundreds of years of existence, and Mason Porter continues in that long tradition by merging modern production and sensibilities with a timeless sound. The ethereal opening of “You And I” shows the depth of sound, variety of tempos and incredible potential of Mason Porter’s diverse array of instrumentation. Whispering and wistful, the romantic song touches not on the more familiar ground of finding or losing love but the less examined area of how to keep the flame alive.The closing tune, “Yosemite,” is a lengthy instrumental that allows the band to stretch out and find fresh ways to fill space in ways only they can. It’s a strong song and a telling indicator of the band’s development. You can literally hear the thought put into the spacing and pacing of the proceedings and it’s proof that proper planning gives bands the best chances to shine.Heart Of the Mountains is a strong statement from Mason Porter about the state of the band and its future, which is certainly as clear and wide open as the parks that the album celebrates. With the amount of material already released this year, it’s a safe bet we’re not done hearing from them, but for now, fans of modern bluegrass have six new songs of gold to treasure.