How John Muir and Nature Inspired Bon Iver Drummer S. Carey

Cameron Wittig
S. Carey

Sean Carey's Range of Light begins like the still quiet of a forest morning.

"Glass/Film," the opening song of Carey's second full-length album, comes with the distinct sense of an awakening, starting with a heart-beat drum and slowly building, a soft guitar, a flash of horn.

Carey says the album is named for what naturalist John Muir called the Sierra Nevada range, and that grand, panoramic beauty of the mountains is something that inspired his songwriting.

Carey, who lived in Arizona for five years growing up and spent much of his childhood with his father exploring places like the Mogollon Rim, the White Mountains, Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevadas, uses nature as a metaphor for understanding and describing the differing emotions that recently have guided his life.

"When the songs started to form into a record, I noticed that there was this range of emotion in the songs for me and I started thinking about what was going to capture that spectrum," Carey says. "There was just a moment I thought that would really work as a title for the songs. I loved the simplicity of it and I loved the metaphor of it, on an emotional level."

Range of Light, the follow-up to Carey's 2010 debut All We Grow, expands on his jazz- and classical-informed folk music, giving his songs more complexity and dynamics, a memorable sense of depth and beauty, and a panoramic quality that suggests those big, formidable landscapes.

The blooming quality of "Glass/Film" is intentional, Carey says, as was the April 1 release date for the album.

"A lot of the songs have references to nature and specifically to mountains," he says. "The release date was important, to me, that it was in the spring. A lot of the songs have a spring and summer connection to me."

Not only does the album reflect a range of emotions for Carey, but a range of experiences throughout the years as well, a new father thinking back to his own childhood.

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