Echo Location: Sumner McKane’s Ambient Americana

Sumner McKane

Sumner McKane

It’s been several years now that guitarist Sumner McKane has been releasing albums of evocative soundscapes dipped in Americana as cinematic as a John Ford western and as nuanced as Andrew Wyeth painting. But this isn’t pastoral nostalgia. His landscapes are tinged in ambient atmospheres and pulled by an undertow of psychedelia that makes it some of the most unassumingly mind-bending music of the decade.

(You can hear an Audio Version of this Blog with Music)

Sumner McKane has played extensively in country bands, but while his music often has a country twang, you’d never mistake if for something out of Nashville.

Sumner McKane: With my stuff I don’t think of it as, as country sound, I think of more of a western sound. You know, there’s not a big difference but just the big reverby baritonekind of guitar sound, the spaghetti western stuff, so I think that for me is, I always try and fit that in somewhere just because I love that sound.

On his latest album, What A Great Place to Be, Sumner plays everything, drums, bass, computer, but his main instrument is guitar. Although he has played in country bands, you can hear echoes of San Francisco psychedelic guitar and shades of Pink Floyd‘s David Gilmour in his playing.

Sumner McKane: Just take the reverb and put in on 10.
Drummer Jeff Glidden: This is a reverb friendly zone.
Sumner McKane: Yeah, a little delay, a little reverb and, and 17 guitar tracks will get you there.

Sumner McKane - What A Great Place to Be

Sumner McKane - What A Great Place to Be

Most of Sumner McKane’s What a Great Place to Be was birthed at the same time he brought his two daughters into the world. No doubt their presence impacted the serene nature of the album,
but Sumner’s music has always had a nostalgic quality. His CD covers are usually home snapshots and landscapes from Maine, and his titles harken back to his like “After the Fireworks We Walked to the Rope Swing.”  That’s a long and unwieldy title,  yet the music is anything but.

Sumner McKane’s new album is What A Great Place to Be and it makes you feel exactly that wherever you’re listening. It’s like the gentlest acid dream in a sun-drenched meadow and it’s our Echoes CD of the Month for October. I’ll feature it on Echoes this Monday, October 6th. This has been an Echo Location, Soundings for new music.

(You can hear an Audio Version of this Blog with Music)

John Diliberto ((( Echoes )))

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One Response to “Echo Location: Sumner McKane’s Ambient Americana”

  1. Edward Weiss Says:

    There’s nothing cooler than ambient electric guitar. I’d like to hear more of it.

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