The expansive new album Rachel Grimes, the renowned modern composer and cofounder of iconic chamber-rock group, Rachel’s. A rich, sprawling folk opera that explores the controversial history of Kentucky’s overlooked figures. The Way Forth, a new folk opera from Rachel Grimes, encompasses lush layers of voices and orchestrations in an experiential, non-linear investigation highlighting perspectives of Kentucky women from 1775 to today. Inspired by a treasure-trove of family documents, photos, and letters spanning several generations, Grimes began in 2016 to research some of the more vexing questions that came to the surface about these people, places, and events.
The songs that make up The Way Forth weave back in time through a postcard, a personal account of a long life on a farm, traces of folk tunes, names, places, and rivers, all woven into an emotional fabric of yearning, nostalgia, grief, and the rich intimacies of everyday life. Initially solo voices are heard above vivid orchestrations, expanding with the choral voices of the community through fragments of traditional church music and popular tunes. The scope widens to include a modern male narrator's reflections on a place battered by greed, civil war, bigotry, and the exploitation of natural resources. Through music, voice, and film, The Way Forth honors the emotional legacy of the silenced, the holistic, the beauty in quotidian life, and explores the eternal grace and redemption of time, as symbolized by the great Dix and Kentucky Rivers
STAFF COMMENTS says: An honest and tender look at rural history and locality as well as the place of arts and creativity within society, all presented through Grimes' singular musical vision. Any fans of Rachel's tender chamber classical (myself included) will find a lot to enjoy here, while being comfortingly different from anything that's come before.