The Keening—the solo music project of Rebecca Vernon—weaves a web of lush orchestration, American Gothic sensibilities and wintry murder ballads set against a backdrop of dark, shimmering folk. Vernon’s previous band SubRosa echoes in The Keening’s chamber doom, flowing with flute, strings, harp, French horn, piano, organ and hammered dulcimer. Ultra-melodic forays into haunted bogs, endless wells, secret crimes, jeweled cages and the unenviable curse of being a murder witness abound. Dark as this sounds, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Rebecca Vernon was the owner, lead singer, guitarist and primary songwriter of Salt Lake City’s acclaimed SubRosa. She ended that 13-year project in 2018 to focus on The Keening. Rebecca began writing her first solo album, Little Bird, soon after. Largely composed at a retreat in Joshua Tree and a friend’s family homestead in Kamas, Utah, the album was recorded in December 2020 at Hallowed Halls in Portland, Oregon with “Engine-ear” Billy Anderson. Anderson’s long resume includes such luminaries as Melvins, Neurosis, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, High on Fire, Bell Witch, Amenra, Agalloch, Cathedral, Cattle Decapitation, Red House Painters, Sick of it All, Sleep, and Swans.
Anderson collaborated with Vernon and Witch Mountain drummer Nathan Carson as co-producers of the recording of the album. A host of Portland’s finest session musicians lent their talents to the album, including Andrea Morgan (Exulansis, Eight Bells, Aerial Ruin) on violin. Little Bird was completed in July 2021, mixed by Billy Anderson and mastered by Justin Weis at Trakworx in San Francisco.