Welcome to the 6th installment of Sounds of the Week, the weekly musical musings of members of the Justseeds cooperative. This week Old Earth!
Sound notes from Pete:
Well I didn’t necessarily mean for this platform to promote Milwaukee music, but hey it’s where I currently reside, I’m really loving some of the music coming out of here, and it’s pretty likely that most of you outside of Milwaukee haven’t heard most of it. So this week I am stuck on listening to Old Earth. Old Earth is the project of Todd Umhoefer, a native Wisconsinite. I initially heard this listening to the great local radio station WMSE, who actually do a pretty decent job of playing local music. I caught Todd playing a live set on WMSE and was instantly intrigued by his voice and the dark, looping, spacious guitar playing that accompanies it. Maybe it was the weather, a typical grey windy ominous late fall evening, the kind of day that you feel winter creeping in and know you better make sure you are physically and mentally prepared for it. The sounds pouring out of the speakers were the perfect soundtrack to that feel… I think there’s something about the upper-midwest, the seasonal change, the intensity of the weather, the effect it has on landscape and infastructure that is often times reflected in the creative output of musicians and artists that I love, and obviously find and affinity with. It’s that bleakness that I missed living elsewhere, that rusted metal and crispness of fall leaves, the overgrown industrial relics and modest houses resting in rolling hill landscapes… yet its a hopeful feeling, a kind of sad and beautiful feeling, which tends to be the sound of music I am most drawn to. So here it is reflected in such a perfect way in the sounds of Old Earth. The first record I heard of Todd’s was “a low place at the old place” which was recorded at his grandmothers farm house outside of Milwaukee.
I got a chance to see Old Earth live at the record release show for this album, and in typical Milwaukee fashion it was at a small bar and was attended by approximately 10 people, nothing fancy or pretentious about it, just amazing music and a humble performer. Todd played solo that show, just him and a guitar. His recordings tend to feature multiple players including members of the band Field Report who are actually gaining some attention outside the confines of this city.
Since this recording in 2012 Old Earth had put out multiple releases, including a full length called “Small Hours” on a Scottish label called mini50 records.
Check out Old Earth, his bandcamp page has tons of music on it and some of it is available for free, and all of it is worth your time.