As long as humans have occupied the American landscape, its nearly endless variety been a source of inspiration for art. Endless plains exploding into giant snow-capped mountain ranges giving way to raging oceans on both sides. Earl Greyhound's Kamara Thomas gives voice to her lifetime obsession with the American landscape and mythos on the new “Earth Hero” by Kamara Thomas & The Ghost Gamblers.
The album collects new and old Kamara Thomas songs. Expansive and breathtaking, the songs are a cross country drive on I-80. Rusted trucks exposed to the elements on old corn farms and vacant coal mines. The American mythos are about that simultaneous hope born of infinite possibility and mourning the passing of a better simpler time that was actually worse and harder (Bill O'Reilly still hasn't figured out that the 50's pretty much sucked for most people). Album opener “My Kentucky” hits this conflict perfectly. Sad and optimistic in equal measure, it's the story of a man who spends his life looking for his fortune everywhere but home.
It's kind of fascinating that while the thematic inspiration for the album is the American landscape, the musical inspiration comes mostly from Canada by way of Neil Young and England by way of Fleetwood Mac. The record is full of giant harmonies and reverb drenched harmonies. As with her other band, the best songs tend to be the ones that stretch atmosphere and song form past their breaking point. “Lily Gloriosa” and “You Wreck Me” both make incredible use of space building from bare simplicity to cathartic explosions.
- Words by Nathan Leigh