Like Reinhold Rudenberg, the scientist subject of their moving new single “So Much Sky,” Americana prog rockers Birds Over Arkansas are obsessed with the details of life. Whereas Rudenberg developed the microscope for the purpose of curing polio, New England’s Birds Over Arkansas create beautifully crafted songs such as “So Much Sky” in order to encourage listeners to appreciate the achievements in life. Blending unorthodox song structures, technical progressive rock rhythms, and Americana instrumentation and harmonies, Birds Over Arkansas are credited by Jamsphere with producing “timeless music” that features “outstanding musicianship, resplendent vocals, and a crisp sound.” More information on Birds Over Arkansas is available on their official website (www.birdsoverarkansas.com).
According to lead singer Scott Haskitt, “So Much Sky” is about “human progress; the hardships and perspectives that inspire us to solve problems, and the personal sacrifices that are often necessary in order to achieve something.” While the chorus lyrics juxtapose the act of skygazing with that of internal self-reflection, the verses tell the story of the struggles of Reinhold Rudenberg, a scientist and inventor who was in part responsible for the development of the electron microscope.
Rudenberg’s inspiration for his work was his three-year-old son, who was crippled with polio. His hope for the electron microscope was to help other scientists visualize the polio virus and, in turn, advance research for its eradication. The syncopated, scratchy groove heard in the intro is the sound of the movement of individual atoms, rendered by the Scanning tunneling microscope.
Birds Over Arkansas’s 2014 Behind the Lights is an eclectic mix of sincere lyrics, infectious melodies, and complex rhythmic structures. Notable guest musicians highlighted the record, as David Rhodes (Peter Gabriel) lent his ambient electric guitar style to “The String” and Carter Gravatt (Carbon Leaf) added soaring lead guitar lines to “Comet.”
Aspen Public Radio named another single from Behind the Lights, “Catapult,” one of the sixteen best “Under The Radar” songs of 2014, alongside such notable artists as Jackson Browne and Willie Nelson. Their first single of 2016, “Forgotten Lights,” was featured on Big Fuss Records 2016 Artists to Watch compilation.