[Harnetty] brings gem recordings up out of the basement and into the light....the resulting music isn’t about stepping back into the past, but rather experiencing the past and the present simultaneously in a way that is instructive.
— Molly Sheridan, New Music Box


Working like a novelist, [Harnetty] has immersed himself in an archive of field recordings – slices of past lives – and now emerges to create a new text, breathing new life into old chunks of sound by radically recontextualising them.
— Clive Bell, The Wire
The result is an other-worldly album that demands—and deserves—undivided attention in a darkened room with some good headphones. In that environment, you might just be transported to the mythological small town Harnetty imagined while recording.
— Joel Oliphint, Paste Magazine
Bewitching folk collage.…Silent City plays like a snow-dampened sleepwalk through the shadows of a rural American town, Oldham’s voice floating like a Salem sprite over the field recordings and naïve piano melodies, spinning together folk fragments and the words of Harnetty’s father.
— Andrew Male, Mojo Magazine

Silent City is the internationally acclaimed follow-up to Harnetty's 2007 debut, American Winter. Giving the album 5 out of 6 stars, France's Magic RPM Magazine states that Silent City creates a "new Appalachian sound," where "time stretches out before our eyes." The album is a mix of songs, instrumentals, and field recordings that are loosely centered around Junction City, Ohio, the small, rural town where Harnetty's father grew up. His family's apple orchard and home were across from a local cemetery, which they referred to as "silent city." The album features three collaborative tracks with Bonnie "Prince" Billy. It also features sampled recordings from the Berea Appalachian Sound Archives. Silent City was released on Chicago's Atavistic Records.

Late at night, just before closing; sleepy, between awake and dreaming; old jukebox, conversation, laughter––and then, transformation.



A clock ticks ‘til the day calls for me. It really does arrive, it really does cease. At 11am the church bell across the street sounds its throb. It continues, and the rain stops. After fifteen minutes, I think about the coming small disappointment. 
–– David Grubbs, 2009

Field Recordings: All samples are used with permission from the Berea College Appalachian Sound Archives.

Track 1: Hiram Stamper, "Lonesome Road"
Tracks 3, 8: The Sinclair Gospel Serenade, featuring The Rhythmettes and The Teenage Gospelettes, "It’s Different Now"
Track 6: The Helton Family, "Dinah"
Track 9: Travis and Nova Baker, "Fourth Night Drunk"

Artwork and design: Yuri Ono and Nathaniel Parsons
Special thanks: to Jennifer Harnetty
For: Paul Harnetty, and for Henry


1. The Night Is, and Lights Are (4:26)
2. The Top Hat (3:36)
3. Sinclair Serenade (0:35)
4. Sleeping in the Driveway (4:05)
5. “Well, there are a lot of stories” (5:17)
6. Silent City (4:37)
7. And Under the Winesap Tree (3:10)
8. It’s Different Now (4:10)
9. Papa Made that Last Verse Up (0:49)
10. Some Glad Day (4:29)
11. As Old As the Stars (3:10)
12. To Hear Still More (2:51)

Brian Harnetty, piano, Rhoads electric piano, accordion
Bonnie "Prince" Billy, voice (tracks 4, 7, 10)
Ben Taylor, clarinet
Cory Siefker, violin
Sam Paxton, drums
Tom Spare, bells and vibes