Canadian born singer Matthew Oomen now resides in Kolbjørnsvik, Norway. The tranquility and environment in both places have helped inspire a thought provoking, meditative folk album. Where The Valley Is Long does not have the showiness of a major studio album, but it does not need it. By only using his home studio, Oomen has created a complicated pilgrimage.
Where The Valley Is Long’s simple instruments, and complicated lyrics, create an intricate listening experience. The humming nature of the album makes it an easy one to drift off to. It helps you meditate. However, by exploring every compelling lyric, it leads to a euphoric experience, because each listener interprets these songs differently. Also they get a new piece of the story every time they play one of Oomen’s songs.
Every song on Where The Valley Is Long has special attributes that fascinate and inspire. “Master’s Row” has a written letter quality to it. This style grabs you and takes you on a journey through this man’s life, and it sets the tone for the album. For “En Masse,” the blending vocals match perfectly with the subject and title of the song. “Tired Winds” is an ode to the love of nature. “Called to Straw” is almost like a frame narrative. On one level it’s a man remembering his time on a farm. On another level it’s the reenactment of war stories. The complicated storytelling ability of Oomen is commendable.
Where The Valley Is Long is a tenderly produced album. It is Oomen’s letter of love and appreciation for the places that has shaped his life. To truly experience this album, you must turn off all your other senses. Just listen. When you do, you’ll come to love Matthew Oomen’s Where The Valley Is Long.
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