a literary review
Two years ago I moved from Toledo, Ohio to rural western Kentucky, where I composed and recorded a series of thirty-three ambient instrumentals about living in the country called Rural Eminence Volumes One & Two.
The vast majority of songs inspired by or depicting rural life are made with stringed instruments. Though there are guitars on some of these tracks, I wanted to paint with another set of colors. I think of each track as an audio-painting; there are landscapes, still-lifes, abstractions, impressionistic blurs, and portraits. There’s a bit of the rolling hills of Kentucky in each track. There are barns, electric fences, heat lightning, thunderstorms, fog, mist, rain, and the moon in varying phases. There are naked, leafless branches and blooming narcissus and forsythia. All four seasons are represented and reproduced. Most of the songs were created late at night (Here’s to you, Insomnia), hence the twenty-five nocturnes in the two collections, but there are daytime sounds here as well.
Like a lot of things in the country, these songs are multifaceted and can be used like tools. Put them on while you’re studying or when you need something to help you focus. Listen to unwind from a long, stressful day. They might even help you sleep. You can also listen for the sake of hearing, just as you’d go to a museum for the sake of seeing.
There’s a subtle majesty to my little corner of Kentucky. The fields that were green with soybeans last year are a brittle brown now; the corn, scorched by the low hanging sun, was just harvested by my neighbor. The missed stalks look like the ruined remains of ancient scarecrows. Subverting the normal portrayal of such things was one of the goals of the Rural Eminence recordings. The mirror I held up to the rural landscape around me is coated blue but accurately reflects the scenery. This is the country reimagined, reinterpreted.
A.S. Coomer is a writer and musician. Books include Memorabilia, Shining the Light, The Fetishists, The Devil’s Gospel, Flirting with Disaster & Other Poems, The Flock Unseen, and others. He runs Lost, Long Gone, Forgotten Records, a “record label” for poetry. @ascoomer www.ascoomer.com