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Song Premiere: "Risingsun, OH" by Aaron Semer

Aaron Semer
21 October 2019

Aaron Semer – Photo Credit: Albert Varady

Seattle-based, no-frills rock singer-songwriter Aaron Semer is set to release his upcoming album Cape Disappointment on November 15th. Semer’s style is straightforward and passionate and his new LP is chock full of his direct vocal delivery, incisive and relevant lyrics, and punchy to reflective, yet always tuneful compositions.

Previously a member of The Plains (songwriter, frontman), Semer began stripping down his songwriting and sound to its essence during his time in The Plains, and it’s this paring-away-to-the-core process that informs the tracks on Cape Disappointment.

Semer traverses classic American music terrain on the LP, combining the rustic lyricism of Neil Young’s Harvest with the grace and grit of Terry Allen; the folk-punk of the saltiest Warren Zevon anthem with the haunted historicity of Randy Newman, and the weathered wisdom of Lucinda Williams.

A troubadour for our troubled times and questioning minds, Semer rants against the hypocrisy of armchair activism on “(Little Black Square on My) Profile Pic,” describes how “Settling In” and starting a new life with a lover can cover a lot of psychic pains, and relates a historical saga wrapped in revolution, sex, and death on “Bones For The Catacombs.”

The Big Takeover is pleased to host the premiere of the spare and touching acoustic number “Risingsun, OH”. Semer tells a very specific story on this track; that of a farmer’s plight to stay afloat in a farming system that’s geared towards agriculture giants and not the everyday worker.

She’s trying to survive in this way of life that has been a tradition in her family, but it’s just not possible in an industry that routinely bulldozes over the regular folk. She resorts to other methods to keep her life going, but her choices and actions catch up with her… all in a real small town in Ohio called Risingsun.

The narrative track radiates an unassuming vibe, flowing with the gentle glow of two mellifluous acoustic guitar lines. Semer’s plaintive and clear vocals roll along with the guitars, delivering the poignant story of hardship and hard luck.

Semer gives some details about “Risingsun, OH”, explaining, “I grew up in a small farm town in Northwest Ohio called Fremont. And down the road, there was a much smaller town called Risingsun. I always loved that name. I think less than 100 people lived there.”

“I actually dreamed the chorus to this song, just woke up and it was there: “Talk about a town with one stop light, you could drive through it in the middle of the night…” From there, I wanted to tell a timeless tale about a small time farmer being pushed out by big agriculture. My family’s been farming that same area for 8 generations now, and the farming profession is always changing. The story that came out in the song is made up. It’s not based on any facts, but it felt right to me. It made the point I wanted it to. Farming’s not an easy life.”