Nevada Greene / Scott Tuma: Ragged Hollow
Hitt Records

There's no small amount of magic captured on this twelve-inch split release from Chicagoan Scott Tuma and Columbia, Missouri resident Nevada Greene. Issued by the small Columbia-based label Hitt Records, the release presents two side-long travelogues that are both individualized yet complementary, with the two guitarists operating within instrumental folk music conventions whilst also incorporating ambient-experimental elements into their productions.

Greene's A-side “Earthquake Hollow” essentially breaks down into two sections, the first a lovely excursion for electric guitar and violin that'll have you desperately longing for a country hike on a sun-dappled morning. As Greene's lyrical sounds fill the air, the heart fills with joy, the listener grateful that music of such beauty exists. With that segment of the journey completed, the focus shifts eight minutes along, with the material moving away from laconic folk for four minutes of ambient-drone colourations, birds-heavy field recordings, and tinkling wind chimes.

Like Greene's setting, Tuma's “All the Ragged Glory” opens with electric guitar shadings though this time ones traveling at a slower pace, all the better perhaps for the listener to absorb the panoramic scene slowly unfolding. The B-side's a tad hazier, too, in the way Tuma offsets the clarity of his guitar picking with a smudged backdrop of strings and textural detail. If Greene's piece exudes controlled joy, Tuma's oozes longing, like some long-forgotten memory welling up into consciousness and breaking one's heart all over again. Amplifying the nostalgic feel, Tuma next adds banjo to the front-line, in doing so adding a rather Nino Rota-like quality to the proceedings, before bringing things home with a majestic, strings-dominated coda of quiet grandeur.

At twenty-seven minutes, the release is short, even by vinyl standards, but what's here sounds perfectly fine and complete as presented, and each of the side-long creations speaks highly on behalf of its creator's abilities.

September 2016