Mending’s Single “Emma’s Morning” is a Pastoral Contemplation of the Sprawling Family Song Cycle Album We Gathered at Wakerobin Hollow

Mending, image courtesy the artists

The gentle oscillating tone at the beginning of Mending’s “Emma’s Morning” sounds like the first rays of dawn trickling through your window. And when the piano comes in, like waking up at your leisure. Then the story in the lyrics takes us into a slice of the life of a woman who takes stock of her life and ponders her existence in the context of her family history and the events that have shaped the direction of her life. It begins like a more conventional folk song but then that convention breaks down into interrupted melodies like a digital TV signal glitching out not unlike the way one’s direct connections to the people and the experiences of our past may distort as we proceed into the next chapters of our lives. It’s a fascinating approach to songwriting and it’s one part of the sprawling, conceptual album We Gathered at Wakerobin Hollow, a four hour, forty song “speculative narrative song cycle” released in nine chapters over eighteen months, using drone, noise, songwriting and tracing “the lives of a family and friends over a 40 year period in a series of connected vignettes.” The story is set in motion by a fire at an oil refinery in Odena, Alabama and follows the diaspora of those connected to the incident throughout the country. The project launched in August 2018 and concludes in January 2020. As a piece of art its reminiscent of some of Jeff Lemire’s poignant graphic novels about life in what might consider mundane places where he finds what is most interesting under the veneer of normalcy and brings it to life in a riveting fashion as he did in his also sprawling Essex County Trilogy and Roughneck. Engrossing and sonically daring, “Emma’s Morning” hints at what promises to be a revelatory story arc of a series of songs. Listen to the track on Soundcloud and follow Mending at the links below.

Author: simianthinker

Editor, primary content provider for this blog. Former contributor to Westword and The Onion.