Aaron Einbond & Country Music

by Ryan Muncy

Q: What does old country music have to do with the contemporary experimental works of Aaron Einbond?

A: Amanda DeBoer Bartlett.

Amanda DeBoer Bartlett at the recording session for Aaron Einbond's Without Words .  

OK, rewind.

A few weeks back, Ensemble Dal Niente recorded its first album. While this may or may not be a special thing for the world's population, it's a particularly notable moment for our ensemble members. Not only is our first full album as an ensemble family, but also a chance to promote a young, experimental American composer who's been one of our closest collaborators.

The interest in Aaron Einbond's music has been quietly growing over the last several years. Aaron's background is astounding: degrees and post-doc residencies from the world's best schools, commissions and performances by half of the world's best contemporary music ensembles, a long history with IRCAM and the Darmstadt Summer Courses. He was recently named a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow and is headed toward a internationally significant career in composition

It's possible you haven't heard of him. Aaron is a gentle person. He doesn't self promote. He's interested in content as opposed to hype or image.  

Musicians of Dal Niente have known Aaron Einbond for years, but our first artistic marriage wasn't until June 2012, when we premiered a major new work Without Words for solo soprano, large ensemble, and live electronics commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation. The piece will serve at the backbone for our new/first album to be released by Carrier Records this fall. Take a minute and hear his music.

The soprano soloist for Without Words is Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, one of Dal Niente's core artists. She's our Tanya Tucker. Or maybe our Dolly Parton. You get the idea.

I just spent five days to and from Omaha with Amanda, Jesse Langen, and Chace Wall. During that time, I realized my ignorance of real country music and the incredible skill of the aforementioned legends (also note: Patsy Cline). Something you should know is that amongst Amanda's professional aspirations is that of being a backup singer for a country act. And Jesse Langen's knowledge of country music - and music in general - is staggering.

Anyhow, I figure now's the time to note that 1) Aaron Einbond's music is interesting and makes me feel fortunate to be a performer, 2) Amanda DeBoer Bartlett is amongst the most talented people I've worked with, 3) sometimes your decades-old judgements (of country music) should be revisited, and 4) listen to Slow Ass Jolene.