I am astounded and humbled by the writing of Joel Oliphint for this joint article from Columbus Alive and Pacific Standard. It is an in-depth exploration of Forest Listening Rooms — Joel spent several days traveling around with me as we did listening sessions with residents in Perry County, Ohio. You can read the article here and here.
Please join us for the final listening event for Forest Listening Rooms, taking place on May 18th at Robinson's Cave in New Straitsville. We'll walk up to the cave, listen to the forest and each other, and then have lunch after. All are welcome! You can sign up here.
I wrote a piece for The Daily Yonder on listening to the sounds of rural America, and how listening to people, places, and archives can help bridge rural/urban divisions and how we understand one another. You can read the article here.
Dusted’s Justin Cober-Lake and Peter Taber discuss “Shawnee, Ohio” together. Cober-Lake says, “The more I feel unable to figure it out, the more I like the work... Harnetty’s created modern art out of regional history.” Read the full review here.
I am so thrilled to announce that “Shawnee, Ohio” is out today on Karlrecords. It’s hard to believe it has been nine years since I first started visiting Shawnee. To celebrate, here is a new video of a live performance of “Boy” at the Tecumseh Theater. This is the same place my grandfather performed in the Shawnee Orchestra (and played basketball) nearly a century ago. Thank you to all of the performers and community members who have helped this project--it is truly appreciated. You can purchase it here.
Also: the most recent newsletter is out today — please consider signing up for it! Read it here.
5 / 6 stars! A great review from Musikexpress (in German): "SHAWNEE, OHIO...is a lot at once: acoustic portrait, empathic narrative, and historical search for clues. It is music that opens a door into an unknown room." Read the review here.
I am happy to share Robert Sember's thoughtful and thorough article on Forest Listening Rooms and other projects spanning the past two decades. Written for the A Blade of Grass Magazine, Sember goes deep into the material and its contexts, and his knowledge on sound and Appalachian Ohio are especially appreciated. Read the article here.
I am excited to be participating in “With For About,” a conference at St. Helens in the UK. I’ll be joining other participants from A Blade of Grass and from across the field of socially engaged art. It will take place on May 23rd, from 9:30 - 5:30. More information can be found here.
We are getting exited to release “Shawnee, Ohio” next month (April 26) on Berlin-based Karlrecords. “Shawnee, Ohio” will be available as a CD with a twenty-page booklet and a large digipack, and as a digital download.
I've started my own imprint on Bandcamp, called Winesap Records, and am excited to share my first release, called Wayne National Forest.
A precursor and a premonition, a foreshadowing and a foreboding, Wayne National Forest is a quiet companion to Shawnee, Ohio. Recorded with the same Shawnee ensemble––that features Paul de Jong (The Books) and Anna Roberts-Gevalt (Anna and Elizabeth) among others––the pieces are delicate, static, and contemplative.
Long tones are met with independent rhythms and subtle changes that reflect the soundscapes of the forest, located in Appalachian Ohio. For many years, I’ve been walking in this forest to listen and learn of its histories of mining and extraction. The album shares a common sensibility: of quiet listening, of natural rhythms, of fixed movement, and how the past can seep into our present ears.
I'll be joining a panel at Ohio University on February 12, from 5:30 - 7:00 PM, for the "New Old Image Exchange" event. The panelists will each share an old photo, with a new commentary. I'll be sharing the above photo, a Harnetty family portrait taken around 1967, in Junction City, Ohio. With this photo, I'll talk about time, memory, loss, place, presence, and absence. I hope to see you there!
I really enjoyed writing an article for the Rethinking Marxism journal (Volume 30, Issue 4) that explores and describes Jonathan Johnson’s photographs. I’ve known Jon and his work for several years, and I jumped at the chance to organize some thoughts on both the images and his process of making them. Jon also helped me with the Shawnee, Ohio project, as a videographer. You can find the article here.
This video is a brief listen and look into Forest Listening Rooms, where I invite local communities in the Wayne National Forest in Appalachian Ohio to gather in public outdoor spaces and critically listen to sounds of the forest. This project contends that the simple act of listening to the forest’s past and present can transform its future. Find out more about this project here.
A New Brian Harnetty newsletter is out now. It features an update from the Forest Listening Rooms Project, photos from recent performances at Duke University, and more. Sign up and receive 2 new exclusive recordings and a corresponding score. Sign up and see the newsletter here.
What are your forest stories? Over the next two Saturdays (October 6 and 13, 2018), I'll be hosting a "Forest Listening Room" in the Wayne National Forest. We’ll be meeting at the new Tecumseh Lake trail, part of the Buckeye Trail. The site is beautiful, a sign of how far the local residents have come to help restore the land and its waterways. Yet, participants also experience acid mine drainage and the rejected coal of a century-old “gob pile” — here, the scars of time and extraction are not hidden, but are left as reminders of what is still needed to bring this land back from degradation.
The events are part of a Socially Engaged Art project, where I invite residents and the public to listen to the forest and talk about how it is used. These events are open to the public, and are funded through a generous grant from A Blade of Grass. I hope to see you there!